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Korea successfully tests first unmanned ship on real sea trial
Wednesday, November 29, 2017, 09:01:34 Paul Yoon ckyoon7@paran.com
The first unmanned ship developed purely by Korean technology has been successfully tested on real sea experiment (RSE). MOF (Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries) unveiled that it successfully tested on Nov. 23 the unmanned ship at Jangmok Port on RSE.

MOF and KRISO (Korea Research Institute of Ships and Ocean Engineering) have been pursuing a ‘Multi-purpose AI Unmanned Ship Building Development Project’ (MAUSBDP) for localization in Korea at a total budget of KW27 billion from 2011 to be completed until 2018. MOF and KRISO have been carrying out the MAUSBDP in collaboration with eleven private outfits. MOF and KRISCO had developed ‘Aragon-I’ added with ‘Aaragon-2’ at the end of 2014 in successful demonstration at sea on trial at the end of 2014.

The name of ‘Aragon’ stands for a ‘sea dragon’, and is conducting autonomous navigation at sea capable of recognizing course and avoiding barriers ahead and equipped with a remote control that can be adjustable ashore in the case of emergency.

‘Aragon-II’ weighs 3 metric ton at a maximum speed of 43knots and is built to run through the rough sea of 2.5m highest waves. She is designed to perform better, weigh 0.4mt lighter and run at a higher speed by ten knots than ‘Arangon-1’ built in 2014, and make sea survey and surveillance at the same time.

‘Aragon-II’ is set to be deployed in surveillance on diverse works ranging from fishing surveillance to oceanographic observation-survey (OOS) to prevention of oil pollution to research-rescue, and operate in difficult areas where men are unable to work onboard. The unmanned ship is expected to greatly save operation cost by drastically cutting manpower required in ship operation, maintenance and management in making use of unmanned ship for OOS.

MOF is pushing for development of unmanned surface vehicle (USV) on the back of its unmanned ship technology in collaboration with DAPA (Defense Acquisition Program Administration) for military use. Also, MOF worked out a base on commercialization of unmanned ships, transferring the autonomous navigation technology to private outfits, the key know-how to operation of unmanned ships in last March this year. A total of KW30b will be spent on military USV development project from 2015 until 2019.

The RSE was launched on Nov. 23 when ‘Aragon II’ had left Jangmok Port, taking the course established under the autonomous operation system and through the remote control. Since her departure, she has performed her technology to avoid ships approaching ahead of her stem or her portside or starboard, recognizing them by using radar and camera. Also, she has approached the suspected illegal fishing boats, announcing warning and guidance through a loudspeaker to them and transmitting the results to control centers ashore.

MOF will best strive to promote performance of newly developed USV on RSE and upgrade her function and commercialize her use, reflecting her demand from end-users. It will also finalize her 3-phased USV development project and the verification of her performance test results on RSE until the first half of 2018 and afterwards, fully deploy her on every kind of ocean surveillance and investigation mission.

In addition, MOF plans to transfer to private outfits the core technologies of USV including specified design of USV shape and fluid performance of the core technology in USV, as well as further pursue research in collaboration with relevant ministries in a move to secure necessary technology required in development of very large autonomous ship and in operating her.

A MOF official said: “’Aragon II developed this time is expected to be widely used in the public sectors including fishing surveillance, OOS and rescue-salvage. We will make best use of autonomous navigation skills and ship design technology applied to USV not only in national defense fields but also in competition with other overseas rivals including UK and Norway in development of USV so that we can further strengthen ourselves in this regard.”
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