One of the most dangerous aspects of operating in a marine environment is the poor situation intelligence operational crews must work with, whether they are naval personnel on anti-piracy patrols, search and rescue entering a floundering vessel, or gas and oil workers operating in highly volatile environments.
The boarding of a suspect or damaged vessel will often be carried out by a small team aboard a fast, rigid inflatable boat (RIB). Approaching, securing and inspecting vessels at sea produce challenges for radio communications - especially on a large metal ship or platform. Fading and re-propagation from large metal structures can cause interference to a video image. Limiting real-time situation information between boarding parties and commanding officers on the parent vessel can degrade response times or increase the risk to a boarding party.
Wood & Douglas has developed a lightweight, digital image transmission system, incorporating a head or body-worn camera with a dVMo-TP integrated encoder and radio transmitter. Providing encoding and transmission of a single video input, two audio inputs and a high speed data stream, the dVMo-TP is fast enough to supply a live, high-quality link back to the main patrol vessel which uses a widely-spaced diversity antenna system. The diversity receiver uses sophisticated Maximum Ratio Combining techniques to extract the best data possible from poor signals, ensuring excellent reception for boarding and deck inspections at distances up to 2km from the main patrol vessel.
To further improve the ruggedness of the link, digital error corrections are applied. Using these combined techniques, Wood & Douglas is able to use reflection and re-propagation to add to the signal strength, improving rather than degrading the quality of transmission when operating in a complicated or structurally-crowded environment.
The range of the system is further enhanced by deploying a small rugged repeater unit with simple magnet-mounted antennas to the deck. Extensive tests on a range of naval vessels and other ships have identified the frequency band which gives maximum penetration in steel vessels. This enables live images and audio to be relayed from the team inside the suspect ship, despite the presence of stairs and thick bulkheads.
Transmission can be encrypted using AES with 256-bit keys, and the receivers can have auto-search and lock for pre-selected channels and encryption keys for different operational tasks, ensuring the boarding team’s activity can only be viewed and directed by friendly parties.
- High-quality, encrypted real-time video and audio transmission at sea
- Signal relay and reception techniques counteract common interference issues created by moving metal structures
- Lightweight, body-worn system delivers improved remote command and control for increased safety of deployed personnel
- Ship-to-ship and ship-to-shore applications for naval, customs, search and rescue operations or oil and gas exploration