Mine countermeasures are a difficult, time consuming and risky job. Pressure builds quickly too. A single suspect rogue mine can force your fleet to wait while you clear it. That pressure is nothing like the nightmare scenario of not detecting that mine. Fortunately, the arsenal to conduct this fight is growing. The introduction of new off-board tools for mine counter measures like Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUV) and Unmanned Surface Vessels (USV) are transforming the traditional means of conducting mine warfare. Navies are putting many of these systems through their paces in aid of their expeditionary forces. In doing so, they are finding that they must re-write their doctrine. Why? They don’t operate like traditional mine hunting tools. Off-board systems get closer to the ordnance and improve percentage clearances.
The introduction of new off-board tools for mine counter measures like Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUV) and Unmanned Surface Vessels (USV) are transforming the traditional means of conducting mine warfare. Navies are putting many of these systems through their paces in aid of their expeditionary forces, and in doing so they are finding that they have to re-write their doctrine. Why? They work. These off-board assets can get closer to the ordnance and improving the percentage clearances.
MINIMISE THE SENSOR–TO–SHOOTER TIMELINE
Better percentage clearances are important, but not at the expense of the mission’s tempo. Our aim is to find more and miss less, quicker! It all comes down to the mission readiness of the off-board assets and the quality of their data. The survey instruments and the navigation sensors need to work well together. The aim is to deploy an AUV to gather actionable data. The contacts from the AUV will need to be re-acquired by either a diver or a neutraliser and every false alarm is a lost dive. Errors in the position outputs from their navigation systems will mean that the assets used to re-acquire will need to spend more time looking for the mines. This is time we don’t have. That’s why the work we do is so important, and why we listen carefully to our Navy customers’ needs.
UUVs have been successful because they offer a stable platform in which to survey the seafloor at a fixed distance from the seabed. The value in the AUV is driven by the data they gather. In an MCM context, the requirement is to improve the percentage clearance of the seabed by improving the probability of detection while minimising false alarms. In our drive to improve the performance of the UUV, we have tailored our sonar solutions to work best when mounted on an AUV. The result is Solstice. A sonar made to produce actionable data across its whole swath. Solstice offers industry leading area coverage rates (ACR) in a size, weight and power (SWAP) suitable for man-portable AUVs.
UUVs must be able to work out their position and navigate accurately in order to best map the seafloor and potential contacts. They are great at remaining covert but, out of reach from GPS signals, they must use a combination of INS and DVL to dead-reckon their position. The result is that as time passes the UUV’s position is progressively less accurate. If we improve the dead-reckoning performance, we improve the value of the survey data. That’s why we have worked so hard to integrate our INS and acoustics solutions. Class leading navigation position and minimal set up times, one of the reasons leading AUV manufacturers are choosing to work with us.
Situational awareness of the underwater battlespace is of vital importance when conducting MCM missions. The aim is to survey a wide, often complex, area and detect with a high level of accuracy the position of all possible contacts. Underwater off-board assets enable the warfighter to remain at arm’s length from the ordnance, but this poses other challenges. Each off-board asset may be equipped with different means to position or navigate. They remain isolated while submerged and divers often dead-reckon. Our world trusted acoustic tracking solutions solve that challenge. We offer a wide range of acoustic USBL transceivers suitable for simple deployments from shore or through a deployment pole mounted on a ship. We understand acoustics and can tailor a solution to your specific needs. Our solutions are scalable and can grow with your mission while maintaining commonality. They can also be used to transmit data wirelessly underwater in a secure manner.