Identifying Research Needs for Underwater Munitions

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SERDP, in partnership with the Office of Naval Research, sponsored the latest in a series of workshops to evaluate progress in developing acoustic techniques to detect and classify unexploded ordnance (UXO) in the underwater environment and to identify outstanding research and technology development needs. Held July 16 and 17, 2013, at Fort Myer in Arlington, Virginia, the workshop drew 38 attendees representing 20 organizations from six countries including Canada, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, and the United States.

Technologies evaluated included high- and low-frequency systems, imaging techniques and structural acoustic approaches, and applications for proud, partly buried, and fully buried UXO. Through formal briefings and small group discussions, the attendees sought to answer the following questions:

  • What is the best level of performance currently available in different underwater environments and for different types of munitions?
  • What is the theoretical best performance that can be expected?
  • What are the science and engineering barriers to achieving this performance and, more specifically, how much will clutter or noise degrade sensor performance?
  • Are robust target discriminators possible for all types of UXO and in all environments?
  • How do underwater environments affect sonar performance, and what environmental factors are the most critical to understand and predict performance?
  • Can the acoustic systems be used for real-time environmental characterization?
  • What are the optimal configurations for sonar hardware, platforms, and signal processing, and are these systems available commercially or can they be adapted from evolving mine countermeasures (MCM) systems?
  • How can performance of these acoustic systems maximized?

For more information, visit SERDP and ESTCP’s featured initiative on Munitions in the Underwater Environment.

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