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Acceptance Testing and Partner Training of the Triton Autonomous Maritime Vehicle Complete

Thu, 07/15/2021 - 09:09am

Figure 1: Triton System Preparation for Launch, Figure 2: USM’s R/V Ken BarborTowing the Triton out of the harbor for testing and training., Figure 3: Triton System Testing in Gulfport, MS Ocean Aero is manufacturing six Triton autonomous, semi-submersible boats for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) for research and testing to support maritime protection and law enforcement operations. Cherokee Nation Strategic Programs, LLC (CNSP) is the prime contractor to DHS S&T responsible for acquiring the Triton test systems and designing the logistics management process for evaluating, testing and sustaining the vehicles. Ocean Aero, Inc. was in Gulfport, Mississippi June 14-18, 2021 delivering the sixth Triton autonomous maritime vehicle for government acceptance testing and partner training at The University of Southern Mississippi’s (USM) Marine Research Center (MRC).

The successful delivery of the first Triton system in early November, 2020 was a major project accomplishment. Since the system was ordered in early 2020, the Ocean Aero team was able to maintain the production and testing schedule while meeting all COVID-19 safety requirements during manufacturing and delivery of all 6 vehicles. By meeting the first delivery goal in early November 2020, and throughout the first half of 2021, the project has stayed on schedule with a new Triton unit coming off of the production line every month until the DHS S&T order of six systems was fulfilled in June of 2021.

“Ocean Aero is pleased to be able to work with our partners to rapidly deliver an innovative multi-mission capability that may help meet the US Coast Guard’s and other DHS components Maritime Unmanned Systems research objectives.” 

-Kevin Decker, CEO, Ocean Aero. A Mississippi Technology Company Innovator. 

The Triton autonomous maritime vehicle is a hybrid, dual-modality system that is environmentally powered – wind and solar charge the batteries. The Triton offers long endurance, a low threshold of detection, and precision navigation in both surface and subsurface operations. The system is payload agnostic with integrated autonomy for navigation to provide an off-the-shelf capability for a wide range of users with diverse mission needs.  The research team of CNSP, USM, and Ocean Aero designed an Acceptance Test Plan to validate the delivery of the Commercial Off-the-Shelf (COTS) product. This plan used the unique resources of the USM MRC to access testing areas around the Port of Gulfport to put the Triton system through a series of test cases that exercised each of the baseline capabilities of the vehicle. USM facilities provided an ideal location for demonstrating the surface and subsurface features of the Triton system, while also allowing the government team and data collection staff the chance to observe the tests while maintaining proper COVID-19 distancing.

The CNSP team brings a long history of test and evaluation of unmanned systems technologies across multiple domains. It was exciting to see the Triton system perform and accomplish many of the acceptance tests on the first day of testing. This is a great indication of the long term results that DHS can expect from this project and the team that is assembled to deliver those results.

“It is a real honor supporting DHS while bringing new technologies into their agencies’ portfolios.  These cutting-edge, autonomous systems will be part of a network of smart innovative technology insertions,”

-John “JC” Coffey, Executive Director, UXS, Cherokee Nation Strategic Programs.

Ocean Aero also provided training to the program partners to continue evaluating the performance envelope of the Triton system throughout the rest of the summer. Once the USM and CNSP team finalizes advanced sensor integration later this month, performance testing of the Triton will continue offshore Gulfport throughout the summer and into the early fall.

“USM’s Center for Ocean Enterprise is the ideal place to test emerging UxS for a variety of federal and state needs. Our co-located waterfront access and fabrication/lab facilities makes it easy to test on the water one day, come back to shore and make some adjustments in the lab or quickly manufacture what is needed, and be back on the water the next day. We truly can support rapid delivery of innovative new platforms right here in Gulfport, MS.

-Dr. Jason McKenna, Director of Ocean Enterprise RDT&E

For more information on the Triton platform, please contact: Kevin Decker at 713-305-3174,, and for more information on USM’s Unmanned Systems Research and Testing, please contact Dr. Jason McKenna at jason.mckennaFREEMississippi

Triton System Testing in Gulfport, MSTriton System Testing in Gulfport, MS