Monday, September 14, 2015

Wanted: Underwater robot for GITMO

Photo: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joseph Ebalo
Guantanamo Bay Naval Base announced today that it wants to buy a remotely operated vehicle capable of plunging 1,000 feet into the sea and recording high-resolution video, among many other tasks.
GITMO's request said:
Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba Dive Locker requires a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) System to support the commands mission in multiple areas such as salvage survey/recovery, pier inspection, identification of unexploded ordinance; mitigating the risk of putting a diver’s life in jeopardy, survey of ships, searching/recovery of deep water when it is not obtainable with a diver, hazardous environment intervention, victim search, rescue and recovery, oceanographic/scientific survey/research, and port/maritime security operations.
The ROV system specifications included:
  • Operating current of 2 knots or greater
  • Camera tilt of no less than 180 degrees
  • Range of view no less than 270 degrees
  • Camera has manual and auto focus capabilities with high definition and high resolution color imaging.
  • No less than 700 lumen adjustable LED lighting
  • Small enough to be deployable by one person without a crane system.
  • Less than 200lbs combined weight for control system, tether, and ROV
  • Protective bumper frame to prevent fouling in debris field and withstand collision during salvage surveys and Force Protection inspections.
  • Ability to set automatic depth control, heading and trim.
  • Protective case fitted with monitor, surface power supply and operator control unit
  • Surface power supply with input voltage 100-130 VAC or 200-240 VAC (user selectable). 50/60hz
Contractors must answer GITMO's request by Sept. 28, documents show.
Photo: U.S. Navy Diver 1st Class Brett Roberts
Members of the Navy who have worked at the base say the diving offshore is fantastic. Adam M. Grohman, co-author of the book, Dive GITMO - Scuba Diving in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, wrote:
My deployment in Cuba was a wonderful experience. Of course it was difficult to be away from my wife, family and friends, but the overall experience was one that I will cherish for the rest of my life. I will remember my mission, my shipmates, the scenery and of course the scuba diving. Everyone on a deployment finds an escape. Whether it is spending time at the gym, the pool, the Tiki bar, or playing video games. For me, it was the undersea kingdom that presented itself to me everyday…a kingdom of adventure and excitement. My escape was scuba diving…and when I think back to my time in Cuba, I will always be able to escape into the silent world of my memories.
Such descriptions belie the decades-long U.S.-Cuba grudge match. Newsweek explained the weirdness of it all in 2014:
Guantánamo Bay is part Margaritaville and part M*A*S*H, with an ominous touch of Survivor. Guantánamo Bay is where you can order a slice from Pizza Hut inside an Irish pub in which most everyone is drinking Bud Light. Guantánamo Bay has what may be the last Blockbuster outlet on Earth. Guantánamo Bay is a colonial outpost, military base, detention center, beach resort and sleepy fishing village crammed into 45 square miles of rocky Caribbean coast. It is neither Cuba nor America, though it is definitely both.
Unfortunately, once pristine waters around Guantanamo Bay are increasingly polluted. Scientists have been studying whether the Navy base - or some source of pollution beyond the base - is to blame.
Maybe GITMO's remotely operated vehicle will be able to figure it out.

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