Advanced Ride Enhancement System (ARES)
A successful outcome of our research in this area is the Aft Lifting Body (ALB)/Advanced Ride Enhancement System (ARES) that significantly improves the seakeeping performance of high-performance small craft. This system uses an actively-controlled ALB to limit pitch excursions and corresponding vertical accelerations while operating in a seaway. Using input from an inertial measurement unit (IMU) that senses boat motions, the ARES computer adjusts the ALB position at a rate of 100 Hz to effect control of the boat’s pitch. Benefits of the system include:
(1) reduced slamming impacts by 40–70%; (2) increased payload capacity; (3) reduced drag (and power) while transitioning to planing speed; (4) increased speed in waves; (5) increased directional stability; (6) reduced injuries and equipment failures. We’ve demonstrated these benefits through at-sea tests of ALB/ARES retrofitted on both the 11-meter Naval Special Warfare RIB (11 m NSW RIB) and the 11-meter Navy Standard RIB (11 m NSR).
Navatek leads the industry in using both medium- and high-fidelity methods for design and simulation of active control systems. Using our simulation tools, NavaSim and Aegir, we can accurately model the interaction between vessels and actuation systems. The accuracy of the tools provides a high degree of confidence in any solution that is produced, which in turn leads to reduced “tuning” of the system at sea, saving both time and money. Because of NavaSim’s modularity, control logic can be implemented as fully-compiled executables, enabling us to test proprietary control algorithms while preserving their privacy.
Future ALB/ARES applications include boats designed with integral ALBs, which would minimize the weight impact and added complexity of retrofits. USVs would be a particularly effective application of the ALB/ARES technology, as the ALB will significantly reduce the pitch, roll, yaw, and heave motions in rough conditions, reducing the potential for capsizing. Its demonstrated slam reduction will also reduce equipment failures, resulting in greater mission availability.