An Australian made unmanned surface vessel (USV) literally stole the show at the Pacific 2013 Defence Conference in Sydney.
The Steber Solar Sailor Bluebottle, tasked for ocean monitoring and surveillance, is a joint project between two innovative NSW companies – boat builders, Steber International and marine technology company, Solar Sailor.
Steber International general manager, Alan Steber said: "Interest was enthusiastic and widespread – from government defence personnel and suppliers across the country and across the world.
" A professionally made DVD, brochures and other collateral, all produced in Taree, added a local flavour to the display".
Bluebottles operate on energy available at sea – solar, wave and wind and coupled with the fact they are unmanned, represent an ideal platform for low cost ocean surveillance both above and below the surface.
The conference. coupled with the 100th anniversary of the Royal Australian Navy and Fleet Review, provided an ideal backdrop for the Bluebottle launch by former Australian Prime Minister and Solar Sailor chairman, Mr Bob Hawke.
The Bluebottle's unique design and technology can endure all sea conditions while providing a stable "roll-dampened" platform for above and below water surveillance with low-cost cameras and radar. It can also provide a communications link between aerial and submarine assets.
Self-deploying and self-retrieving, Bluebottles can roam widely or be kept on-station virtually indefinitely and as such have a wide range of applications – surveillance and monitoring for defence, coastal protection, environment, fisheries, oil and gas security.