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A System of Systems Approach to Mine Countermeasures

(Photo: Teledyne Marine)

A team of underwater, surface and aerial unmanned vehicles was recently deployed Newport, R.I. to demonstrate a “System of Systems” approach to expeditionary mine-countermeasures (MCM).

The multi domain unmanned assets were deployed by Teledyne Marine and its industry partners at The Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Division Newport during the 2018 Advanced Naval Technology Exercise (ANTX) August 29-31.

The multi-vehicle, multi-company demonstration began with a Power Docks Blue Isles Autonomous Power Microgrid platform simulating providing power to all vehicles. A Teledyne Oceanscience Z-Boat 1800 RP autonomous surface vessel (ASV), started the exercise by performing a bathymetric and LiDAR survey of the basin. Next, a Planck Aerosystems Shearwater unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) conducted surface surveillance for both object avoidance and threat mitigation for the Z-Boat. A Teledyne Gavia autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) then conducted a search-classify-map sidescan survey of the basin. Teledyne CARIS-Onboard, which was running on the Gavia AUV, performed mosaicing of the sidescan data in near real time while Charles River Analytics’ ATR software, also running in near real time on the Gavia AUV, used advanced image processing algorithms to analyze the CARIS mosaics and perform automatic target recognition (ATR).

The coordinates of a mine-like object were passed to Marine Advanced Research’s WAM-V ASV, which moved to the provided coordinates and deployed a Teledyne SeaBotix vLBV300 remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV) equipped with a mock-up of a mine disposal system. Finally, Greensea Systems’ inertial navigation and supervised autonomy, maneuvered the ROV to the waypoint with minimal operator assistance, visualized the target and simulated neutralization.

“Following the theme of ‘Human Machine Interaction’, Teledyne and its partners demonstrated how today’s Mine Countermeasures activities can safely be performed by multi domain assets incorporating much needed autonomy. Nicknamed by NUWC Newport, ‘The Battle of the Basin’, our exceptional team used a strength in numbers approach by combining our individual technologies, most of which were small businesses, to perform the job to be done,” said Bob Melvin, Teledyne Marine System’s Vice President of Engineering.

“Autonomy was the focus, starting with mission planning, navigation and station keeping. Then we mixed in real time data processing and target recognition on the vehicles themselves. Post mission analysis time was practically zero,” Melvin said.

“The 32 minute exercise was an amazing display of using autonomous vehicles for mine detection and clearance in a small harbor while keeping the warfighter out of harm’s way.”

Marine Technology Reporter was on hand to witness a similar exercise at the 2017 BlueTech week in San Diego.

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