UDT Europe 2011 sees a significant focus on the delivery of cost effective undersea surveillance and inspection based on unmanned vehicles, sensors and networks. Applications of unmanned and increasingly autonomous capability include mine countermeasures (MCM) operations in distant regional theatres, unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) performing intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions, and harbour/infrastructure protection systems designed to provide timely warning and identification of potential underwater threats.
Capturing the spirit of the age, this year's conference programme includes a number of papers detailing innovative approaches and novel techniques:
- Bluefin Robotics will discuss its Explosive Ordnance Disposal Hull Unmanned Underwater Localization Systems (EOD HULS), ordered by the US Navy, which will support Naval Forces and the Naval Explosive Ordnance Technology Division in conducting ship hull, pier and pilings search operations.
- Task Management of Multiple Unmanned Underwater Vehicles, presented by the 716th Research Institute in Lian Yungang, China, which examines the critical enablers for multiple UUVs to perform ISR missions.
- A joint paper presented by the DGA, Thales and UPMC University will consider the combination of parametric and synthetic aperture sonar for buried mine detection, exploring how the two techniques can be exploited so as to achieve resolutions comparable to what is achievable with a high frequency sonar.
- Thales is to detail how increased autonomy is an operational need for autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), and how it is possible to benefit from real time synthetic aperture sonar processing, automatic target recognition, performance evaluation and mission re-planning in order to increase the reliability of an MCM AUV mission.
- Focusing on the underwater IED threat, EdgeTech will brief on its Littoral Mine Countermeasure Sonar, which integrates a dual frequency sonar: the 600 kHz frequency utilizes both Multi-Pulse technology and Dynamically Focused transducers for high resolution mine detection at ranges up to 125 m per side; the 1600 kHz frequency utilizes Dynamically Focused transducers for detailed classification and identification of mine- and IED-like targets.
- Germany's WTD-71 technical centre will assess the C4ISTAR requirements for harbour protection system situational awareness, identifying automated target recognition, pattern recognition, data fusion, automated coordination of sensors and weapons as well as automated coordination of organic sensors which are among the most prominent candidates for artificial intelligence-supported decision-making.
These and other papers will address the state-of-the-art in unmanned underwater systems, examining how leading edge technologies and novel techniques can meet today's demanding operational requirements for high performance, reduced risk and lower cost.