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CHIPS Articles: Naval Oceanography Participating in ANTX ’19 in Newport, Rhode Island

Naval Oceanography Participating in ANTX ’19 in Newport, Rhode Island
By George Lammons, NAVIFOR Public Affairs - July 31, 2019
STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. – The Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command (NMOC), based at Stennis Space Center, will once again be participating in the 2019 portion of the Advanced Naval Technologies Exercise (ANTX in Newport, Rhode Island. NMOC will host the operational counterpart of ANTX on the Mississippi Gulf Coast in November 2019.

CNMOC and NUWC coordinate annual ANTX focused on technologies and future concepts that explore and interact with the maritime domain. They invite warfare centers, universities, and industry partners to showcase their latest developments. The event provides a low-risk environment where scientists and engineers can evaluate their technological innovations at the research and development level before the systems become operational. Events are coordinated between military and industry to explore the possibilities for development/integration.

“This is the Navy’s premier showcase for emerging technology, especially emerging unmanned technology. It enables us to building better partnerships with industry and academia and to achieve our strategic goal to innovate,” said Rear Adm. John Okon, NMOC commander.

“As the largest operators of unmanned underwater systems in the Navy, these autonomous / systems have been and will continue to be a critical capability for Naval Oceanography.” ANTX allows Naval Oceanography to be on the leading edge of unmanned maritime systems technology, quickly incorporating new tactics and techniques into operations.

ANTX includes demonstrations, testing and discussions of emerging unmanned underwater vehicle technology as well as evaluations from fleet decision-makers. NMOC uses a variety of unmanned vehicles to collect ocean data for applications that include mine warfare, anti-submarine warfare, special operations, and field charting.

The 2018 ANTX resulted in several contracting initiatives:

  • Using NUWC’s Other Transaction Authority (OTA) vehicle, NMOC submitted a requirement for a solar and/or wind-powered unmanned surface vehicle to conduct persistent sampling of both surface and subsurface ocean environments.
  • Booze Allen Hamilton and Maritime Tactical Systems were awarded approximately $1 million to develop the prototype.
  • NMOC also initiated two contract actions to convert their hydrographic survey launch vessels to be “optionally manned” and to obtain unmanned surface vehicles capable of performing automated meteorological and oceanographic sensing.
  • The process of using ANTX as “market research” which moves the Navy more quickly to feasible and realistic procurement actions is the cornerstone of the ANTX concept.”

ANTX uses exercise scenarios or vignettes to integrate military, industry and academia for the experiment. This year, Naval Oceanography accepted 23 proposals to execute eight vignettes including 14 from industry, one from academia and six from government. NMOC runs test vignettes from April until October at different locations in the Gulf of Mexico, near the command’s Stennis Space Center headquarters. Operators capture the experience and lessons learned and will brief their initial findings in Newport at the Narragansett Bay Test Facility, Aug. 28-29.

The final finding of the operational portion of ANTX, where operators and vendors collaborate to test, validate and verify unmanned underwater capabilities applied to Naval Oceanography, will brief Nov. 4-6 in Gulfport, Mississippi.

Okon said that ANTX is a great example of how the Navy, industry and academia need to move in lockstep to field new technologies the fleet.

“That’s the type of innovation culture that I’m looking to set throughout the community, and … that we’re looking to set across Information Warfare,” he said.

NMOC, a part of the Navy Information Warfare Enterprise, has approximately 2,500 globally distributed military and civilian personnel who collect, process and exploit environmental information to assist fleet and joint commanders in all warfare areas to guarantee the U.S. Navy’s freedom of action in the physical battlespace from the depths of the ocean to the stars.

For more information about NAVIFOR, visit the command's website at http://www.public.navy.mil/fltfor/navifor/Pages/Default2.aspx, Navy News webpage at http://www.navy.mil/local/navifor or Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/NavalInformationForces.

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