Underwater Munitions Response Test Site

Several SERDP and ESTCP Munitions Response projects have completed their initial tests or shakedown demonstrations and are ready for final testing or a final demonstration at a controlled site. Mike Richardson, a technical advisor to the Munitions Response Technical Committee, has been working for the last several years to pull together a plan for a standardized underwater test site. We are putting this planning into a higher gear starting this year.

We started our planning with the success of the Standardized UXO Test Sites for terrestrial systems at Aberdeen and Yuma as a model. Almost all SERDP- and ESTCP-developed technologies visited Aberdeen or Yuma, often several times, during their development and final testing as did a number of technologies developed with other support. As the state of munitions detection and classification technolgies improved, the test sites underwent several generations of upgrades to maintain their usefullness. Results at the test sites were valuable both to individual developers to guide their efforts and to the munitions response community at large to measure the progress of the entire program. After completing its use by SERDP and ESTCP, the Aberdeen site has transitioned to use by the Department of Defense Advanced Geophysical Classification Accreditation Program (DAGCAP).

The logistics of an underwater test site will be more difficult than the land-based versions. The variety of sensor modalities being pursued underwater is much broader (optical, electromagnetic, acoustic, etc.) so the details of targets and emplacement methods to accommodate all possible sensors is tricky. In addition, the underwater environment presents challenges in geolocation, navigation, and potential mobility of test items that are not present on land. SERDP has supported Limited-Scope efforts by PNNL and Parsons to develop preliminary test site concepts.

We plan to get the effort going again with a full-day planning meeting on Thursday, November 29th at the upcoming SERDP and ESTCP Symposium. Please contact Mike Book if you would like to be included in this meeting.

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