Navy bases are home for our ships and sailors. They are busy hubs where security is paramount. The lanes in and out of a naval base are a common bottleneck. Navy ships often share their transit lanes with civilian ships in complex dynamic environments. A common requirement for navies is to keep those routes safe and clear of hazards. Monitoring choke points and shipping lanes is also a vital requirement.
However the reliable detection of underwater targets in the acoustically hostile environment of a seaport, harbour or marine terminal is a notoriously difficult challenge to overcome. Constant vessel traffic, noise from active depth sounders and a complex thermal structure are commonplace. What’s needed is a solution that provides both a persistent and robust surveillance capability to monitor below the waters’ surface.
Mapping Transit Lanes
The ability to rapidly and accurately map the seafloor in order to detect changes and potential hazards such as mines is critical. A single mine can form an obstruction to a naval base capable of blocking traffic for multiple hours. Tactically it can render a navy at a huge disadvantage. That is why all navies monitor their transit lanes routinely. They are looking for changes in the seafloor and the presence of new objects of interest. Routine inspections help to paint a picture of the seafloor around a naval base and add to the total situational awareness required to keep ships and sailors safe.
The best picture of the seafloor can be obtained through the use of side mounted sonars on Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUVs). These UUVs can travel at a set distance from the seafloor and gather data at the sweetspot for the sensors. By planning the adequate routes the naval base can get consistent, repeatable surveys of the seafloor and these can be used to carry out ‘Change Detection’. ‘Change Detection’ helps determine any new objects which may require closer inspection. And our Multi Aperture Sonar – Solstice – is the best side mounted sonar for this purpose.
Intruder Detection Systems
Naval bases are at constant threat from determined combat divers and unmanned vehicles. These foes are capable of remote deployment and covert approach. They have the potential to take out access routes, ships at dock or ground support troops. The threat is real and intruder detection sonars are being procured world-wide by leading navies to help mitigate for it.
By monitoring every subsea choke point a naval base can secure the safety of its assets and personnel. Divers or UUVs need to be detected, tracked and their intentions need to be assessed automatically and in real-time as mitigation needs to be affected immediately. The leading technical and commercial solution is Sentinel.