Singapore-based unmanned surface vessel developer Zycraft USV PL has now completed Phase II engineering development of an 8 meter long unmanned fireboat.
This follows completion of Phase I which started in 2019, when a fire fighting system was introduced into the company’s 17-meter Longrunner USV for tests and evaluation. In that phase, Zycraft proved its remote firefighting software algorithm and control of the USV to verify proper protocols needed for effective unmanned firefighting.
Using a Unifire Force 50 remote-controlled fire monitor installed at the bow, the Longrunner USV successfully navigated its way to a simulated boat on fire at sea, and executed unmanned firefighting maneuvers around it. Using an electrically driven pump with a 60-cubic-meter-per-hour flow rate, a shooting distance of 35 meters was achieved.
Zycraft says that the fire-fighting software it has developed and patented enabled the USV to autonomously carry out surveillance around the simulated boat on fire whilst synchronizing the fire monitor’s water jet landing point with the USV’s electro-optic system. An operator at the shoreside command center focused on the fire fighting with a clear picture of the prevailing situation. This allowed the shoreside center to decide where and when to commence firefighting operations.
The new 8-meter unmanned fireboat will have twin remote-controlled fire monitors each capable of 70 meters reach, with one monitor installed on a telescopic mast for greater reach. An engine driven fire pump provides 1,500 gal/min flow at 150 psi.
The fireboat is powered by a single diesel engine and waterjet to give it a maximum speed of 35 knots. A drop down thruster provides the heading precision needed during firefighting.
Zycraft General Manager James Soon says that details are being finalized for construction of the first vessel to showcase to customers.
“The market potential for small unmanned fireboats is great because of the large populations and industries living next to the water,” says Soon. “An unmanned fireboat provides enhanced readiness on a 24/7 basis. It also optimizes the command and control of firefighting assets over a large area and leads to lower operating costs. Our unmanned fireboat will revolutionize the way waterborne firefighting is done.”