Global Underwater Hub launches further defence sector Innovation Calls
15 November 2022The Global Underwater Hub (GUH), in partnership with the Royal Navy and Babcock International Group, has launched two new "Calls for Innovation.” The calls aim to identify technologies and techniques used in the offshore environment that can be applied throughout the defence sector; aiming to address key problem challenges and generate efficiency savings.
The joint initiative seeks to identify ways to increase the operational uptime of assets and reduce dry-docking periods by adopting and adapting existing in-water inspection, maintenance and repair practices used in other sectors.
Over the course of 2022, three separate Calls for Innovation are being launched, each focused on different inspection and repair capabilities with Call 1 being completed in June. Calls 2 and 3 follow the successful first Call for Innovation, which focused on in-water inspection. Following 50 expressions of interest for Call 1, 20 applications were submitted, from which 7 companies have been shortlisted to demonstrate their technology solution.
The Calls for Innovation form the first cross-sectoral industry project undertaken by the GUH since its formation last year. It underlines the cross-sectoral exchanging of knowledge, skills and expertise that is at the heart of the trade and membership organisation, which represents businesses operating in the offshore energy, aquaculture, defence, telecoms and subsea mining industries.
In Call 2 ‘Underwater Coating Systems,’ the Royal Navy and Babcock are looking to employ new systems for preparing and preserving small areas of submerged and water-backed surfaces and compartments that outperform current systems.
In Call 3 ‘Novel Non-destructive Examination (NDE),’ the Royal Navy and Babcock are seeking a novel NDE solution to examine and ascertain the structural integrity of a welded joint through a variety of rubberised compound/coatings, with the intention of being able to apply an acceptance standard to the flaws identified through this rubberised medium. The technique needs to be sensitive enough to identify both surface and subsurface volumetric flaws in the welded substructures.
Both calls are open to GUH members and non-members.
Companies interested in taking part in Calls 2 and 3 should read the relevant documents and complete the registration of interest form on the GUH website before Friday 9 December. A webinar offering further insight into the Call for Innovation will take place on Friday 25 November. Full details relating to the Call for Innovation can be found on the GUH website: https://bit.ly/3URa8Lk
Neil Gordon, Global Underwater Hub Chief Executive, said: "These two new Calls for innovation further illustrate how the technologies and capabilities that have been developed by subsea businesses working in the offshore energy industry can be effectively applied in the defence sector. This has already been evidenced by the positive response we received from industry during Call 1 earlier this year.
"The Global Underwater Hub is proud to be part of this joint initiative with the Royal Navy and Babcock, which gives subsea companies the opportunity to demonstrate the breadth and depth of their innovation.”
Captain Pete Deeks, Superintendent Fleet Maintenance (Clyde), Royal Navy said: "The Royal Navy has so much it can learn from the offshore industry. These calls are a real opportunity for us to do that learning and then invest in further technology and techniques.”
Ivan Stace, the Babcock Lead for In-Water Engineering, said: "Through our partnership with the Global Underwater Hub, Call 1 has identified tangible opportunities to gain valuable insight and knowledge, and explore potential technology from the offshore sector. We have been pleased with the level and quality of responses and are actively following up on a number of these with key suppliers.
"We are also excited about the further opportunities and innovations that could arise from Calls 2 and 3. With Call 2 on Underwater Coating Systems, we are keen to explore whether there are offshore systems that offer increased longevity and durability in relation to the challenging area of painting underwater.
And with Call 3, focused on Novel Non-destructive Examination techniques and approaches, we are interested in whether there are surveillance solutions that could avoid the need to remove submarine tiles and rubberised coatings.”