In a photo from the U.S. Navy, “a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter flies over a debris field during February 2023 recovery efforts of a high-altitude surveillance balloon,” in which VideoRay vehicles played a role
POTTSTOWN PA – VideoRay LLC, the underwater technology company with offices at 212 E. High St. in downtown Pottstown, on Monday said (May 1, 2023) it received a $16.1 million order from the U.S. Navy to buy additional remotely operated underwater vehicles for military defense purposes.
The Navy so far has bought about $49 million of VideoRay products under a transaction agreement with the company, it added.
The Navy ordered more of the company’s “Mission Specialist Defender” vehicles and related components. According to a VideoRay statement, they are used by explosive ordinance disposal operators “to locate and neutralize underwater mines, such as those being laid near Ukraine, and in other maritime war zones.” Their work is part of the nation’s Maritime Expeditionary Standoff Response program.
An important feature of VideoRay’s Mission Specialist Defenders are their adaptability, company CEO Chris Gibson explained. They offer “modularity and an open systems architecture” that make it easy to add third-party sensors and payloads for “a variety of demanding missions in the most challenging underwater environments.”
It’s compact, too, Gibson said, describing the system as “a man-portable package.” The Navy intends to upgrade Defender sensors, autonomy, tools, and manipulators, the company said, to provide enhanced capability and reduced risk for their operators.
The Navy’s recent uses of Mission Specialist Defender units include the February 2023 recovery of a Chinese high-altitude balloon shot down off the coast of South Carolina. Helicopter pilots, underwater divers, and VideoRay vehicles all were part of that effort. Navy and Coast Guard personnel worked to retrieve “parts of the balloon’s payload assembly … that likely sunk to the bottom in about 45 feet of water,” ABC News reported.
Besides its Pottstown offices, VideoRay maintains a support facility in San Diego CA, as well as mobile training teams that provide services to customers worldwide.
Photo from the U.S. Navy