US & Allied Navies Opt for Modular Mission Specialist ROV Systems for EOD Operations

VideoRay LLC, of Pottstown PA, reported a sharp increase in sales of its ROV systems over the last year. While sales were strong across products and product lines, sales of the Defender model were dominant.

The US Navy has been ramping up deliveries, which will grow significantly in 2022. The Defender separates Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) operators from underwater explosive threat hazards and mitigating damage to vessels in the area around the threat.

“The VideoRay Defender has become an essential tool for underwater EOD missions for the US and other allied Navies around the work. Lt. Cmdr. Michael Bailey reported in the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service, “The VideoRay Defender is destined to be part of a family of US Navy EOD response vehicles.” Last year the VideoRay Defender was awarded a program of record under the US Navy’s Maritime Expeditionary Standoff and Response program.

Payload Collaboration

VideoRay has brought together best-in-class technology leaders for the US Navy’s Defender configuration payload, including Blueprint Subsea, Eddyfi, Nortek, and Greensea:

  • Blueprint Subsea provides the Oculus 750d Forward look multibeam sonar and the Seatrac USBL positioning system. Blueprint Subsea specializes in imaging sonars, acoustic positioning beacons, and diver navigation systems.
  • Eddify Technologies delivers a dual-axis rotating manipulator with five interchangeable end effectors. Eddify’s mission is to create technology enabling people to perform tasks that they could not otherwise do in places they could not otherwise go.
  • Nortek contributes a Doppler Velocity log (DVL), an essential component of the Defender’s navigation and autonomy system. Nortek designs develops and produces scientific instruments that measure water in motion. Nortek provides truly innovative, robust, and accurate instruments and support to ensure customers maximize value from their measurements.

Pioneering Control Software

Greensea provides EOD Workspace, the Defender’s control software which provides the operator an interface to operate the system. EOD Workspace displays information from more than 18 different modules, sensors, and tools in an intuitive interface, making it easy for the operator to complete their mission faster and safer.

The Defender is one of two models using VideoRay’s modular Mission Specialist technology, including the smaller Pro 5, and a larger model due for release in the next few months. VideoRay controllers can be used with any Mission Specialist submersibles, making it more affordable to own different systems. Operators can share modules, sensors, and tooling between systems.

All mission specialist models use standard thrusters, communications and power models, cameras, manipulators, lights, and other navigation and sensor packages. These are produced in quantity, which improves reliability, and are easily replaced in the field to minimize downtime. These standard modules include VideoRay thrusters, which are the highest power density available and allow the Defender to produce 26.7 kilograms (59 lbs.) of thrust while weighing only 17.2 kilograms (38 lbs.) in air. The Defender, while man-portable, can go deeper, pull more tether, and fight stronger currents, significantly expanding the mission’s operational window when compared with other systems.

New battery technology is now being delivered to the Navy, allowing the system to operate quieter without compromising the Defender’s industry-leading thrust. Battery power delivery is available from the topside or on the submersible, and there are advantages to both power delivery methods. VideoRay delivers topside battery power through a Portable Power Supply. The Portable Power Supply is splashproof and can deliver power to the Defender system for 4-6 hours. The batteries in the Portable Power Supply can be ‘hot swapped,’ further extending operational time. A submersible battery supply allows the operator to use a small diameter tether, significantly reducing drag when operating in stronger currents. The smaller diameter tether is available with copper or fiber communications. The small diameter copper tether is field repairable and can be used for missions of up to lengths of 600 meters. All these features can be implemented on all existing Defender systems, including those delivered years ago.

Enabling Autonomy & Versatility

VideoRay is delivering systems with a prototype subsea processor to act as an autonomy engine onboard the vehicle. The subsea processor will enable a higher level of autonomy and provides a platform for perception technologies and artificial intelligence applications. The subsea processor will allow autonomous control without relying on surface processing. The Autonomy Engine Module will ‘plug and play’ with existing VideoRay Mission Specialist systems significantly expanding their capabilities.

VideoRay’s success in expanding its market share is due to several unique aspects of both VideoRay, and its products. Operators use VideoRay’s Mission Specialist Pro 5 and Defender systems for demanding applications in several other fields, such as offshore energy and renewables, first responders, hydroelectric, scientific research, infrastructure inspection, and aquaculture.

VideoRay’s modular approach to system design goes beyond VideoRay innovations. Mission Specialist modularity provides a platform making it easy to integrate and work with navigation solutions, sensors, and tooling. VideoRay’s Mission Specialist modularity provides operators with specialized capabilities uniquely addressing their mission without compromising the system’s integrity and reliability. Modular design provides two distinct advantages. It allows for the hardware equivalent of “Telsa software updates”—improvements to delivered systems with benefits that were not even conceived when the systems were first designed. it also allows VideoRay to leverage and push defense R&D into commercial applications quicker and more cost-effectively.

To learn more about VideoRay ROV systems, visit

This feature originally appeared in Ocean News & Technology’s Magazine February 2022 edition—Naval Defense & Security. To read more, access the magazine here.

Latest Issue:

Welcome to ON&T’s new-look 2024 – 2025 Uncrewed Vehicles Buyers’ Guide (UVBG). Now in its tenth year, the UVBG has…

Your cON&Tent matters. Make it count.

Send us your latest corporate news, blogs or press releases.