Engineering group BMT has released details of its next generation ‘Pentamaran’ platform for autonomous ship applications.
The new platform can be customised for a variety of specialisms including hydrographic, surveillance, anti-submarine and patrol work.
The design team says the Pentamaran has been designed to reduce drag as much as possible, with trials proving it offers “significant improvements compared to conventional hull forms such as mono-hulls, catamarans and trimarans”.
The vessel features a slim central hull with two smaller sponsons located on each side.
“Our team have carried out extensive work on this,” explains Martin Bissuel of BMT, “and the data gathered through extensive towing tank testing is compelling.
“The Pentamaran hull form is more fuel efficient than conventional full forms, which means that using the same engines and the same amount of fuel, it will go further than any other – making it an ideal candidate for autonomous applications.
“Looking at it from a distance it may resemble a trimaran but that’s where the similarities end.
“The arrangement and careful positioning of the four sponsons makes all the difference.
The forward sponsons stay above the water, and only come into action when the vessel rolls, so that not only the drag is reduced, but the sea keeping characteristics are improved.
“Compared to a trimaran hull form, lateral accelerations are lower, reducing g-loadings on the structure as well as the antennae and sensors on deck.
“The wide deck offers a large working area for multi-role capabilities and it can accommodate payloads or interface with other systems such as unmanned air vehicles.
“A key consideration when a vessel is operating autonomously for long periods of time, is the reliability of the propulsion setup, which is essential to sustained operational readiness.
"Our engineers have therefore integrated multiple independent power sources to increase reliability as well as survivability.”