Kongsberg Maritime launches unmanned offshore support vessel for subsea operations

See the video as remote and autonomous vessel technology takes a big step forward with REACH 1, a new 24-metre unmanned subsea support vessel.

In spring 2024, the 24-metre REACH 1, the world’s first unmanned offshore surface vessel, was launched from Trosvik Shipyard in Norway. It is the first of a pair of unmanned vessels to be delivered by Kongsberg Maritime for Norwegian company REACH Offshore ASA.

REACH 1 is filled with Kongsberg Maritime technology and expected to start underwater survey operations off the coast of southern Norway. REACH Offshore expects to develop a fleet of these vessels.

Launching REACH 1

Kongsberg Maritime and REACH Offshore launch the first of a series of completely unmanned offshore support vessels

“Client interest in REACH Remote is continuously increasing across all regions and we have both national and international projects in our pipeline that fit these vessels very well,” said Jostein Alendal, CEO of REACH Offshore. “The successful sea-launch of the REACH Remote USV is marking a significant achievement for our organisation.”

Kongsberg Maritime has focused considerable engineering work on developing remote and autonomous shipping technology.

“What started as a disruptive idea and a cross industry research project seven years ago is soon to become a reality. Nothing has been done on this scale before,” said Johnny Aarseth, Executive Vice President Integration & Energy at Kongsberg Maritime. “Up to now we’ve seen smaller ‘drone-type’ craft carrying out limited duties, but this is something completely new, and I believe it will set the future direction for the way certain critical offshore jobs are done.”

In addition to designing the REACH 1, Kongsberg Maritime took the role of prime contractor, working on the supply chain, systems integration, and commissioning. The design for the unmanned REACH 1, known as the UT 5208, focuses on a moonpool from which an ROV is launched and retrieved by operators working from a remote operations centre.

REACH 1 was designed to be unmanned from the first day of operation, thus saving operators considerable fuel and associated costs.