Sea Technology

NOV 2013

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Improving False Alarm Rate For ASW, MCM Operations MIRK Algortihm Characterizes Targets for Defense Decision Making By Dr. Jim Byrnes T he U.S. Navy's unmet operational needs (UONs), including the anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) threat, extend both to the antisubmarine and sea mine countermeasures (MCM) realms of naval undersea warfare. "The most persistent problem in both ASW [anti-submarine warfare] and MCM are the many target false alarms incorrectly classifed as targets from sonar sensors," said R.Adm. John Pearson, U.S. Navy (retired), the 1980 winner of the U.S. Navy Surface Force, Atlantic Fleet Anti-Submarine Warfare Award and commander of the U.S. Navy Mine Warfare Command from 1991 to 1996. "This adversely affects real-time sonar operators' decisions, remote-sensor post-mission analysis decisions, unnecessarily wastes scarce and very expensive weapons, and injects signifcant time delays in detect-toengage sequences." Possessing the potential to be a game changer for this persistent problem, MIRK (Material Identifcation Refectivity Kernel) is a mathematical, signal-processing technique being developed as a software upgrade to existing sonar systems. MIRK is among the 34 Rapid Innovation Fund (RIF) white papers funded by the U.S. Navy in fscal year (FY) 2011, chosen from several thousand submissions. According to the U.S. Department of Defense, MIRK "provides the warfghter the capability to reliably detect bottomed submarines and mines in real time with fewer false alarms, signifcantly increasing the feet's ability to defeat anti-access/ area denial (A2/AD) threats." Pearson surmised, "In the near term, [MIRK] can provide sonar operators with an accurate decision capability not available before now. In the midterm, based on experience with ongoing contract work on various sensors, we will gain confdence and learn enough to move MIRK to an automatic target recognition [ATR] capability. This will result in highly signifcant improvements in our ASW/MCM capabilities." Sonar Applications MIRK is signifcant in sonar applications for two major reasons. First, it enables a classifcation decision, moving the classifcation or characterization beyond "possible" target to "probable" or "positive" target. It can discriminate between manmade and nonmanmade ensonifed objects, be they submarine or sea mine, in the midst of signifcant environmental clutter and/or reverberation. Second, because MIRK uses existing digital active acoustic system capabili- MIRK corrects matched-flter false alarms. 10 st / November 2013 www.sea-technology.com

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