Enforcer III is Saab’s test platform for development of autonomous functions. It is a converted Combat Boat 90, equipped with navigation and communication systems, sensors, cameras and lasers for navigation. The platform was tested in a joint trial between Saab and the Swedish Navy in the southern Baltic Sea. Unmanned technology is under rapid development and future Swedish corvette divisions could be made up of a combination of manned and unmanned platforms. For security reasons there is a crew onboard during the tests, but the boat’s operations are directed from the corvette HMS Nyköping. The targets discovered by Enforcer III are sent to Saab’s staff on the corvette, and they then transfer it to the ship.
“A risk assessment is made every time you send out a boat and today we always have people onboard. But we see that it is now possible to send unmanned boats out in higher risk scenarios. The Swedish Navy is examining how autonomous platforms can fit in with their existing operations and that is where we come in to create the technology and the possibilities”, says Jens-Olof Lindh, Project Manager at Saab.
“We have used Enforcer III tactically for advanced reconnaissance. We are then able to be more withdrawn and radar silent. That makes my ship far more difficult to localise for the enemy”, says Viktor Tornerhjelm, commanding officer of HMS Nyköping.
Enforcer III contains techniques for improved navigation support and possibilities to operate it unmanned. It can be used for advanced reconnaissance. The unmanned platform makes the manned platform more efficient and reduces the risks to units and staff. This is when you send the boat out on long distances and it delivers useful information with assistance from radar and camera. Unmanned sea vessel offer several advantages: obtaining a permanent presence but with the use of limited personnel, removing risk of exposure to the threats to personnel, and reduced costs. For a country like Sweden, which a long coastline to protect, autonomous systems can bring great advantages in cooperation with traditional ship systems.
CB90 is a class of fast military assault craft used by several countries after being originally developed for the Swedish Navy by Dockstavarvet. It can carry and deploy a half platoon of amphibious infantry (18 men) fully equipped. The CB90 is an exceptionally fast and agile boat that can execute extremely sharp turns at high speed, decelerate from top speed to a full stop in 2.5 boat lengths, and adjust both its pitch and roll angle while under way. Its light weight, shallow draught, and twin water jets allow it to operate at speeds of up to 40 knots (74 km/h) in shallow coastal waters. The water jets are partially ducted, which, along with underwater control surfaces similar to a submarine’s diving planes, gives the CB90 its manoeuvrability.