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A multi-disciplinary team of experts from the United Kingdom National Oceanographic Centre (NOC) has started trials this week at the PLOCAN facilities on a new autonomous oceanographic device, this time consisting of a wireless submarine telemetry system for great depths.

The objective of the trials is to assess the performance and functionality of the wireless communications system in real operating conditions. The advantageous operating conditions and logistics offered by the PLOCAN marine test bed have been decisive in the NOC’s decision to once again consider the facilities and capabilities offered by PLOCAN to carry out new trials on their technological developments in deep waters.

Days before the device was deployed at sea, NOC technical staff finalised the technical details of the configuration and assembly of the set of components that comprise the system in the PLOCAN facilities in Taliarte, which in this case consists of 300 metres of mooring line, two surface gliders with a working cargo that includes acoustic transducers and a bottom positioner.

At the same time, NOC will use the stay at PLOCAN to carry out deep water trials on two new, recently acquired submarine glider units.

The trials as a whole are scheduled to last for four weeks, to set up the mooring line and the bottom positioner at a pre-determined location on the PLOCAN test bed, plus two autonomous surface vehicles responsible for compiling the information generated by the array of sensors to measure bio-geo-chemical parameters, fixed to the mooring line and the bottom positioner.

Once the full assessment of the functionality of the equipment in the trials is completed, the device is expected to be added to the oceanic observation Network that NOC runs at latitude of 26.5ºN as part of the MOC/Rapid Watch, programme as an up-grade, which will most probably allow for more efficient and sustainable management of the MOC/Rapid Watch network, apart from making data available far more frequently than is currently the case.