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Now optimised for multiple applications

Designed to meet the specific challenges of long range autonomous operations, BMT has released details of its next generation platform for autonomous applications.

Optimised to reduce fuel consumption and increase its adaptability across multiple applications, BMT’s ‘Pentamaran’ design offers a myriad of applications for defence and commercial innovators. The platform can be custom configured for military, patrol, intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and hydrographic survey work.

The design is the latest from BMT’s team of expert naval architects and engineers who have been at the forefront of innovative hull design for 34 years. ‘Pentamaran’ has been designed to reduce drag as much as possible and tests have proven it offers significant improvements compared to conventional hull forms such as mono-hulls, catamarans and trimaran.

The vessel features a very slender central hull and two smaller hulls or ‘sponsons’ on either side, set one behind the other.  The forward sponsons stay clear of the water when operating in flat water conditions; their purpose is to provide roll stabilisation in waves.  Compared to a trimaran, this hull design means there is less volume permanently immerged and therefore less resistance through the water.

Martin Bissuel, Business Sector Lead for Specialised Ship Design at BMT comments, “Our team have carried out extensive work on this. The data gathered through extensive towing tank testing is very compelling. For applications where fuel economy matters, the Pentamaran hull form is more 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 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. It can accommodate payloads or interface with other systems such as unmanned air vehicles.”

Bissuel added, “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. “

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