Sapphires assisting in civil search operations

The Sapphires autonomous underwater vehicle, developed to search for naval mines, has also proven to be capable of assisting in civil search operations.

On a number of occasions, the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration's (FMV) Sapphires autonomous underwater vehicle has played a key role in efforts to discover missing persons following drowning accidents. Sapphires has been used to quickly locate drowning victims after intensive searches by the police and fire services yielded nothing.

"It is great that our technology can be of civil use and help out following such tragic incidents," says Saab's project manager Per Johansson.

Sapphires autonomous underwater vehicle

Sapphires is an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) system with highly advanced sonar. Sapphires is optimised to autonomously locate mines and dumping areas at sea and is also used for charting the sea bed. The product is in a class of its own when it comes to the rapid discovery of small objects in large areas, and it can also be used in civil searches. Sapphires is one of few sonar systems that can locate drowning victims.

"A number of people drown every year and a great deal of time and resources are often required before they can be located.  Sometimes they are never found. It can be virtually impossible to find a person who is lost at sea. The technology now exists to find them quickly," concludes Per Johansson. 

The AUV system has been developed by Saab and is designated AUV 62.