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CHIPS Articles: Scientists Leverage MCM Prototype, Deliver First UXO Detection System

Scientists Leverage MCM Prototype, Deliver First UXO Detection System
By Jacqui L. Barker Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division - October 5, 2017
PANAMA CITY, Florida – Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division (NSWC PCD) scientists are providing national munitions response support leveraging prototype sensors that is transitioning to Fleet assets.

Recently, the NSWC PCD team conducted a munitions response survey in the Potomac River waters near Dahlgren, Virginia Sept. 19-27, 2017. NSWC PCD collaborated with Alion Science and Technology Corporation, Edgetech, Inc., Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI), and Polatomic, Inc., to deliver an integrated magneto acoustic detection system mounted on a REMUS 600.

This collaboration leveraged the magnetic sensor, developed by Polatomic, Inc., that is currently transitioning to explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) fleet users for non-mine countermeasure purposes. The team took the magnetic sensor and used it with the REMUS 600 and a commercial side scan/sub bottom to find buried objects.

NSWC PCD Program Manager Brian Wallace said he and his team are very pleased with the results achieved to date.

“I have great confidence this particular system is operating at a higher level than ever before,” said Wallace. “We’re getting really great data out of this system and we’re excited about the results we’ll get from using it. Right now, this is the first system of its kind.”

“We worked very hard for a very short time in order to achieve what we felt was the impossible to do, integrating the magnetic and acoustic sensors onto a new vehicle,” said NSWC PCD project manager Dr. Jesse I. Angle. “This was impossible to do without Alion’s Ephraim McGhee, Polatomic’s Andres Torres, our own Dr. Neil Claussen who gave the magnetic sensor a tune up, WHOI’s Andrew Girard, and Edgetech's support. Collectively, we were able to identify and rectify issues within the acoustic sensor.”

Angle said fleet customers were also very encouraged with their results.

“The Naval Facility Engineering Command, who is the project sponsor, was extremely pleased with the progress and usability of the data products,” said Angle. “Visitors from Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit TWO were greatly impressed with the data products being generated. I’m told they are looking forward to the future of this system.”

The next opportunity for the sensor prototype to be used will be the Coalition Warfare Program (CWP) Joint Pacific Survey that will be conducted in San Diego, California, Oct. 24 – Nov. 8, 2017. The goal of that survey is to push the limits of unmanned unexploded ordnance (UXO) science and technology, leveraging up and coming mine countermeasure capabilities from both U.S. and German navies.

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