Tentacle Winch™ uses an integrated motion reference unit and intelligent control algorithms to measure both the surface vessel and vehicle motions to perform safe and effective deployment and recovery in harsh environments up to sea state 5 at a speed of 6 knots.
The ALARS is constructed of non-welded aluminum for high strength, low weight, and low magnetic signature. These properties are important for small host vehicles such as Unmanned Surface Vehicles (USVs) and mine countermeasures (MCM) vessels.
The Tentacle Winch™ is a fully electric winch system that offers significant benefits compared to a hydraulic system in terms of system response and repeatability of winch motions, as well as environmental and efficiency benefits compared to similar hydraulic winches.
Advanced control features come standard on each winch and include:
- Active Terrain Following (ATF) functionality when coupled with Kraken’s KATFISH™ allows the Mission Control Computer to adjust cable scope to assist the tow vehicle in active terrain following and obstacle avoidance.
- Auto Tension (AT) keeps a constant specified tension on the tow cable allowing the Tentacle Winch® to hold the vehicle in the docking head during L&R phase without an additional capture mechanism.
- Auto Render (AR) automatically pays out cable if the cable load exceeds a pre-set threshold.
The entire launch and recovery process of the vehicle is continuously monitored through sensors and video link. Video streaming of the docking head and winch are provided to ensure that all functions are operating within acceptable parameters. Furthermore, the ALARS and Tentacle Winch® leverages the dynamic motion compensation capability to provide smooth, safe, and robust launch and recovery for remote operations.
These video feeds work in parallel with the Tentacle Winch’s intelligent Active Motion Compensation system which compensates for the motion of the vessel and the A-frame during launch and recovery procedures.
This system mitigates risk and human error during high sea-states, wave action, and dynamic vessel movements by continuously monitoring vessel motion, using a predictive controller to vary the tension on the tow cable ensuring safe and secure launch and recovery.
The A-frame is driven with hydraulic cylinders powered by a dedicated marine hydraulic power unit. The cylinders are trunnion mounted to better withstand shock. The A-frame has three positions, stow, launch and recovery, and tow. The docking head is controlled in pitch by pantograph arms and controlled in roll by dampers.