German-British engineer battalion receives Sonobot 5 drone - M5 Dergi
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German-British engineer battalion receives Sonobot 5 drone

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The German-British Amphibious Engineer Battalion 130 in Minden, northern Germany, has received the newest Sonobot 5 underwater drone.

According to Bundeswehr, the binational bridging engineer battalion is equipped with an efficient and precise means of exploring water bodies.

The Sonobot 5 is an unmanned sonar system that floats on the water’s surface. It’s the world’s fastest floating unmanned sonar system, making it ideal for surveying and search operations in lakes, canals, and various conceivable scenarios. This technology allows the pioneers to measure and assess military-planned crossing points accurately. With the drone, they can detect and precisely locate submerged objects such as debris, mines, shallows, or significant obstacles within waterways.

Precise, flexible, versatile, and militarily robust, the Sonobot 5 can be transported, assembled, and operated by a single soldier. It’s a specialized platform designed specifically for hydrographic surveying in inland waters. In traditional water body surveying, known as bathymetry, the Earth’s surface, along with naturally and artificially connected objects, is meticulously measured and described – a task that the Sonobot 5 excels at. Furthermore, it can vividly and highly accurately depict the waterbed using side-scan sonar. This lightweight, remotely controlled, and modular measurement system provides the pioneers with versatility, allowing them to customize the Sonobot to suit their specific mission requirements.

Colonel Florian Loges, Commander of the Deutsch/Britische Pionierbrückenbataillon 130, emphasized the significance of integrating the Sonobot 5: “For us, the Minden pioneers, the adoption of the Sonobot 5 signifies one crucial capability: the ability to digitally, swiftly, and under cover, explore and measure water crossings. Moreover, real-time exploration results can now be made available to responsible military leaders.”

Previously, soldiers measured water bodies using a rubber boat and a water depth recording device (WaTAG). The WaTAG was attached to the boat’s body and used sonar to record the river’s profile. Subsequently, the recorded profile of the water body was printed. This printout provided information about water depth, shallows, and obstacles in the water. Based on these reconnaissance results, the pioneers decided whether to establish a crossing point at that location and which means to employ.

As part of its support for Ukraine, Germany has also delivered Sonobot 5 unmanned surface vehicles to the country.

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