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Spanish Navy buys Leopard ROV for NATO submarine escape and rescue duties

Leopard ROV
Photo: Saab

The NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) has acquired a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) system for the Spanish Navy.

The ROV will provide the Spanish Navy with improved diving support capabilities and will facilitate the execution of their International Submarine Escape and Rescue Liaison Office (ISMERLO) responsibilities.

ISMERLO is an organization that aims to facilitate an international response for a distressed submarine and to improve the ability to respond to a call for assistance through its coordination role. Although established by NATO, ISMERLO supports all nations and pursues the involvement of global submarine-operating nations.

The system includes a launch and recovery system, tether management system, hydro acoustic positioning capability and a shipboard control module. The workhorse of the ROVS is a Seaeye Leopard, a mid-size electric ROV that is fitted with up to 11 thrusters to provide a forward thrust of over 500kgf. It has a 200kg payload, while a large open payload within the chassis allows for the installation of specially designed sliding trays equipped with survey sensors or tooling options. Saab says it can operate at depths of up to 3000 meters.

The contract was awarded to Saab Seaeye after a complex procurement process. Upon delivery, NSPA will coordinate operator and support training as well as the installation and integration of the ROVS.

NATO’s Naval Support Section provides technical and operational support to the 20 navies of the Naval Logistic Support Partnership, delivering projects and meeting supply requirements in home port and providing port services worldwide to ships under way.