Following up on its recent announcement of another multi-million-dollar order for Defender underwater robot systems by the U.S. Navy, VideoRay has shipped units to the naval warfare service branch.
The systems are being delivered with solutions from Greensea, Blueprint Subsea, Nortek and Eddyfi. These best-in class sensors, tooling and software are integrated onto the Defender ROV platform.
The purchase is under VideoRay's existing $49M contract to deliver the Navy's Next Generation ROV. The systems are being assembled and tested in VideoRay's Pottstown, PA facility. They will be used by the Navy for defense and security operations including very shallow water, littoral mine counter measures, port security missions and hull and pier inspection, and shipments will be complete by the end of the year.
The capabilities of the Defender have been cited from a military perspective in recent publications. The VideoRay ROV is prominently mentioned in an article published online titled "Code Name - The Blowfish Project: DTRA Securing the Waterways." The article, which appears on the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service website, delves into the activities of the research and development arm of the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency, which "has invested in a remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV) system capable of identifying and neutralizing underwater improvised explosive devices (UWIEDs)."
In particular, U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Michael Bailey, program integrator for the Counter Improvised Threat Technologies Department, is quoted as saying: "Progress has enabled components of the Blowfish system to be integrated into a new ROV – the VideoRay Defender – which is destined to be part of a family of U.S. Navy EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) response vehicles."
And a U.S. Navy publication – "THE PRIMER: Support to the Fleet – Expeditionary Mine Countermeasures" – describes use of the Defender in its "First Real-World Response" for EOD purposes: "The (VideoRay Defender) systems were formally introduced to fleet operators in March of 2020 when the equipment manufacturers provided training to units from EOD Group 1 and 2 in San Diego and Virginia Beach. During the training at the Virginia Beach location, EOD Senior Chief Jeffrey Spengler stationed at the EOD shore detachment at Norfolk Naval Base said the new systems were "more user friendly and capable" than their predecessor. He likened the VideoRay Defender to a "brute" with the required thrust to work in more challenging currents. EM1 Robert Smith who works in EOD Expeditionary Support Unit Two's Robot Shop was pleased that the newer systems could be operated outside of the water for longer periods of time than Seabotix which will help with maintenance and operational checks prior to employment."
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