Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2021 - 11

Military UUV Sonar

apertures. We are doing a lot of onboard processing, so we can take the
data and process it on the vehicle to enable autonomous decision making by
the sensors, so it has access to the real
time processing of the sensor data, and
it makes decisions based on that. "
NRL's research has paid off. The LFBB
sonar is becoming operational as part of
the Knifefish Surface Mine Countermeasure Unmanned Undersea Vehicle Program, a critical element of the littoral
combat ship (LCS) Mine Countermeasure
Mission Package, used to find buried, bottom, and volume targets in highly cluttered environments. The system, which
employs a General Dynamics Mission
System Bluefin-21 vehicle, is currently in
low-rate initial production (LRIP).
Knifefish achieved a successful Milestone C decision and approval to enter
low-rate initial production (LRIP) in 2019,
followed by a contract for five Knifefish
systems (10 total UUVs) and support
equipment. The first of those Knifefish
surface mine countermeasure unmanned
underwater vehicle (SMCM UUV) systems
were recently delivered to the Navy.

NATO Undersea Experimentation
Although their work is unrelated to
NRL's LFBB, the NATO Science and Technology Organization Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation
(CMRE) in La Spezia, Italy, is also using
UUVs to solve the complex warfighting
challenge of finding mines in the murky
waters of the littoral. At the center of
the effort is CMRE's General Dynamics
Mission Systems Bluefin-21, adapted as
the Minehunting UUV for Shallow
Water Covert Littoral Expeditions (MUSCLE) experimentation platform.
CMRE took advantage of the open architecture and modularity of the Bluefin21 to equip it with a Thales synthetic
aperture sonar (SAS), so it can look at
large areas quickly with high resolution.
The MUSCLE system has onboard memory to help it conduct automatic target
recognition. It can recognize and categorize objects in real time, and considers
factors such as the quality of data and
complexity of the area to determine the
threat and level of certainty. It can then
replan its mission to reduce that uncertainty.

Scientists and engineers from NATO Science and Technology Organization's (STO) Centre for Maritime
Research and Experimentation (CMRE) conducted experiments aboard Standing NATO Mine
Countermeasures Group Two (SNMCMG2) flagship HMS Enterprise during Spanish and Italian Mine
Countermeasures Exercises (MINEX). The CMRE team worked primarily with three autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV), the BlackCAT and MUSCLE brought by the CMRE team and the Italian REMUS 100,
which is part of the operational fleet of the Italian Navy. (NATO photo)

To improve MCM capabilities, CMRE
developed the Distributed and Decoupled Collaborative Autonomy Framework (D2CAF), so UUVs can carry out
those missions as a team of autonomous platforms working collaboratively. CMRE adapted a second Bluefin21 vehicle as a collaborative autonomy
test bed-named BlackCAT-to demonstrate D2CAF by having MUSCLE and
BlackCAT work together. MUSCLE has
an acoustic Doppler current profiler
that measures current speed and direction, and can reprogram its search patterns to account for currents.
BlackCAT, which is used for reacquisition, and hosts a version of D2CAF, can
be equipped with combinations of a
Teledyne Blueview 900 forward-looking
sonar (FLS), an optical camera, a Blueview 2.25 MHz multi-beam 3D sonar,
and an ARIS Explorer acoustic camera.
CMRE also has a pair of Kongsberg Hydroid REMUS 100 vehicles with sidescan sonar and multi-beam echosounder
for reacquisition, and an IQUA Robotics
SPARUS UUV and ARIS acoustic camera
for reacquisition and classification.
Rob Been, deputy head of CMRE's engineering, said the Bluefin-21 has been
robust, sturdy, and reliable. Been said
CMRE has upgraded the vehicles with
central processing units and graphical
processing units to conduct parallel pro-

Aerospace & Defense Technology, May 2021

www.aerodefensetech.com

Cov

ToC

cessing. " We have enabled the Bluefin
MUSCLE to see underwater in real-time,
and thus by looking at the images, determine what to do next. "
Dr. Samantha Dugelay, program
manager for autonomous naval mine
countermeasures at CMRE, said the
MUSCLE, BlackCAT and other vehicles
can communicate with each other
using acoustic modems, so the vehicles
can cooperate while performing different tasks. When one vehicle sees
something of interest, it uses its underwater acoustic modem to send a message to the other vehicle, or to a gateway buoy on the surface, and the
gateway buoy sends it back to the ship,
so they can see the detections in real
time. There's ATR software onboard
MUSCLE so it can determine the type
of target, with a measure of confidence. If it detects sand ripples, for example, it can optimize its orientation
relative to the sand ripples to get a better look. " With collaborative autonomy, it can also task smaller vehicles to
go and inspect a series of detections,
collecting video feeds or sonar imagery, which in turn, can be fed back to
the ship, " said Dugelay.
" MUSCLE and BlackCAT are two similar Bluefin vehicles that have been
adapted to do different things. For example, MUSCLE goes out, conducts the
11


http://www.aerodefensetech.com http://www.abpi.net/ntbpdfclicks/l.php?202105ADTNAV

Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2021

Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2021 - Intro
Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2021 - Sponsor
Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2021 - Cov1
Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2021 - Cov2
Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2021 - 1
Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2021 - 2
Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2021 - 3
Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2021 - 4
Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2021 - 5
Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2021 - 6
Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2021 - 7
Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2021 - 8
Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2021 - 9
Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2021 - 10
Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2021 - 11
Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2021 - 12
Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2021 - 13
Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2021 - 14
Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2021 - 15
Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2021 - 16
Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2021 - 17
Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2021 - 18
Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2021 - 19
Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2021 - 20
Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2021 - 21
Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2021 - 22
Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2021 - 23
Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2021 - 24
Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2021 - 25
Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2021 - 26
Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2021 - 27
Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2021 - 28
Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2021 - 29
Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2021 - 30
Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2021 - 31
Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2021 - 32
Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2021 - 33
Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2021 - 34
Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2021 - 35
Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2021 - 36
Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2021 - 37
Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2021 - 38
Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2021 - 39
Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2021 - 40
Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2021 - 41
Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2021 - 42
Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2021 - 43
Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2021 - 44
Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2021 - Cov3
Aerospace & Defense Technology - May 2021 - Cov4
https://www.nxtbook.com/smg/techbriefs/22ADT09
https://www.nxtbook.com/smg/techbriefs/22ADT08
https://www.nxtbook.com/smg/techbriefs/22ADT06
https://www.nxtbook.com/smg/techbriefs/22ADT05
https://www.nxtbook.com/smg/techbriefs/22ADT04
https://www.nxtbook.com/smg/techbriefs/22ADT02
https://www.nxtbook.com/smg/techbriefs/21ADT12
https://www.nxtbook.com/smg/techbriefs/21ADT10
https://www.nxtbook.com/smg/techbriefs/21ADT09
https://www.nxtbook.com/smg/techbriefs/21ADT08
https://www.nxtbook.com/smg/techbriefs/21ADT06
https://www.nxtbook.com/smg/techbriefs/21ADT05
https://www.nxtbook.com/smg/techbriefs/21ADT04
https://www.nxtbook.com/smg/techbriefs/21ADT02
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com