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Underwater anti-IED robot combats below-the-surface threats

19 May 2016

Saab’s remotely operated vehicle, Sea Wasp, relocates, identifies and neutralises underwater improvised explosive devices, combating below-the-surface terrorism.

Sea Wasp (Credit: Saab)

To produce the Sea Wasp, Saab leveraged technology from its Saab Seaeye line of commercial ROVs, and added capabilities previously developed for its military systems portfolio. The company then worked with the U.S. Underwater Hazardous Device Response Community to adopt it for explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) purposes and procedures.

"Sea Wasp is a hybrid of pre-existing Saab technologies that can now be applied to an urgent worldwide need," said Bert Johansson, Sales Director for Underwater Systems within Saab's Dynamics business area. "Underwater EOD is a rapidly growing niche around the world, and Sea Wasp's capabilities correspond to that niche."

Today, most underwater IED threats are disposed of manually by trained EOD divers. Sea Wasp is operated remotely by two-person teams, allowing for a safe distance between operators and IEDs.

To test Sea Wasp, Saab has partnered with the Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office (CTTSO) in providing Sea Wasp prototypes to three EOD agencies: the U.S. Navy EOD Group 2, the FBI Counter-IED Unit, and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division's Counter-Terrorist Operations Maritime Response Unit. All three agencies have received Sea Wasp training; testing and evaluation is being carried out over the next 10 to 12 months.

"The U.S. unmanned underwater vehicle market is very important for Saab," said Jon Kaufmann, Vice President of Naval Programs with Saab North America. "Our goal with Sea Wasp is to meet U.S. national security needs with an underwater, anti-IED device that keeps EOD teams safe."


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