The team formed a part of the much larger NATO-led maritime EXERCISE Dynamic Mariner 2019, where they tested autonomous underwater vehicles while at sea.
“We have three main vehicles that are exercising in this experiment,” said Christopher Strode, the CMRE team’s lead scientist. “We have two 21-inch unmanned vehicles one with a very capable high-resolution sonar, one with an optical camera and we have a new vehicle called ‘biondo’ which is a smaller vehicle that has a high-resolution sonar capable of giving us good imagery of mines.”
We demonstrate we can do a job better, safer and quicker
Throughout the exercise, AUV’s were launched with the help of NRV Alliance’s Italian Navy crew. The AUV’s are then put on either pre-planned courses or left to autonomously decide how to scan the ocean floor for potential mines or improvised explosive devices that could cause major damage in the maritime domain.
“In our research group we are working on standardization, so how we can promote this approach to all NATO nations so they can work together as a squad of vehicles,” said Dr. Samantha Dugelay, CMRE’s programme manager for autonomous naval MCM.
“We have demonstrated that we can take these vehicles, containerize them and go on other ships, we are also trying to demonstrate that we can make it safer so we take the human out of the minefield. In that way, we demonstrate we can do a job better, safer and quicker.”
NATO’s CMRE, established in 1959, recently celebrated its 60th anniversary. It is a world-class scientific research and experimentation facility that organises and conducts scientific research and technology development, centred on the maritime domain, delivering innovative and field tested science and technology solutions to address defence and security needs of the Alliance. The centre operates two research vessels, including NRV Alliance, which allow them to conduct research, develop and test new technology at sea.
Dynamic Mariner is a NATO-led crisis response exercise with an emphasis on training the NATO Response Force Maritime element. NATO Command groups including Allied Maritime Command, Standing NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG1) and Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) are participating in the exercise. More than 2000 Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines from 18 Allied nations are participating in the exercise which runs from Oct. 7 - 18, 2019.