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CHIPS Articles: Naval Oceanography Conducts Real-World Exercise in Mississippi Sound

Naval Oceanography Conducts Real-World Exercise in Mississippi Sound
By Kayla Adcock, Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command - October 29, 2019
Naval Oceanography is testing emerging, unmanned technology in the Mississippi Sound this year as part of a larger showcase known as the Advanced Naval Technology Exercise (ANTX) co-hosted with the Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) based in Newport, Rhode Island.

Commander, Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command (CNMOC), partnered with NUWC for a second straight year, provides an avenue for innovation, experimentation and high velocity learning, where industry, academia and government partners can exercise their technologies and showcase their relevance to Navy applications.

“With the margin of advantage ever thinner, knowledge of the environment, from the depths to the stars, is more critical than ever before for our Navy to maintain superiority in the physical battlespace,” said Rear Adm. John Okon, commander, CNMOC. “Naval Oceanography has to be an early and quick adapter of new technology to stay ahead.”

This year, four Naval Oceanography commands joined 21 partners to execute eight exercise vignettes. The Hydrographic Department at the Naval Oceanographic Office (NAVOCEANO) partnered with multiple groups for a vignette titled “Multi-Domain Unmanned Systems Operations Supporting Battlespace Characterization.”

This exercise demonstrates the capability of combining multiple technologies into simulated military survey mission scenarios, including two Unmanned Surface Vehicles equipped with environmental and acoustic sensors such as high-resolution multibeam sonar mapping systems, an unmanned underwater vehicle equipped with oceanographic sensors, and two unmanned aerial system-capable bathymetric lidar sensors.

“We expect to identify those areas where current UxS technology can be used for military survey missions and to provide direct feedback to industry partners to further advance their technical solutions for operational use,” said Matthew Thompson, technical lead for the Hydrography Department at NAVOCEANO.

One of the ANTX industry partners, Aretè Associates, recently tested the seafloor mapping capabilities of their airborne Pushbroom Imaging Lidar for Littoral Surveillance (PILLS) sensor within the Mississippi Gulf Coast and Florida Panhandle. Aretè Associates followed the survey flights with in-depth analysis and post-processing training for DoD personnel at the Joint Airborne Lidar Bathymetry Technical Center of Expertise, which included surveyors from NAVOCEANO and the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).

PILLS Program Manager Eric Korpie said, “Arete is proud to showcase the PILLS technology at ANTX in partnership with NAVOCEANO and USACE, and to participate in the Navy Small Business Innovation Research Program.”

Naval Oceanography will showcase results from ANTX on November 6, 2019, at the University of Southern Mississippi’s Marine Research Center in Gulfport, Mississippi, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event is open to the public and is a great opportunity for stakeholders to see these systems in action.

CNMOC directs and oversees more than 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 make better decisions faster than the adversary.

Naval Oceanography partnered with Aretè Associates during the Advanced Naval Technology Exercise in 2019, to implement their Pushbroom Imaging Lidar for Littoral Surveillance (PILLS) sensor. Seafloor mapping data collected using the PILLS sensor near the entrance to Pensacola Bay, Fla. The navigation channel into Pensacola Bay is shown in the middle of the image. The wreckage of the USS Massachusetts can be seen in the bottom left of the image. Photo by Kaley Turfitt
Naval Oceanographic Office Hydrographic Surveyors Patrick Friel (left), Matthew Thompson (standing) and Andrew Vohs (right) collaborate with Maritime Arresting Technologies Unmanned Survey Vehicle (USV) Operations Specialist Sean Murphy to plan a MANTAS T-12 USV survey IVO Gulfport MS. Courtesy photo
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