Sea Technology

APR 2017

The industry's recognized authority for design, engineering and application of equipment and services in the global ocean community

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Page 31 of 72 April 2017 / st 31 A carrier task group is trapped by a mine field laid by the enemy and exposed to air and surface attacks. Sev- eral P-8s ASW patrol aircraft fly over the mine field and, in a predetermined pattern, launch a swarm of micro-UUVs from their sonobuoy tubes to find a clear channel for the carrier task group to safely break out into the open sea. Each UUV of the swarm sweeps a sector of the mine field with high-resolution sonar and executes on- board CAD/CAC processing for the detec- tion and positioning of mine-like objects on the bottom and in the water column. Upon completing its assigned sector, each UUV surfaces and transmits mine-like object po- sition data to MCM central control, where the data are analyzed and a safe passage course transmitted to the carrier task group for breakout. Sound like science fiction? Not so, as recent step changes in cost, endurance, size and power have made swarming UUV applica- tions fundamentally more practical, effective and attractive as real-world solutions, rather than just academic exercises. As the availability of small UUVs, increasing energy density, miniature payloads, better sensors, faster processors and improved communications becomes wide- spread, the potential for pervasive undersea mission capa- bilities based on the coordinated operation of multiple, small UUVs becomes both feasible and desirable. Fur- thermore, as future undersea mission concepts rely more heavily on offboard sensing, communications relays, lon- Swarming Unmanned Underwater Vehicles The Future of Undersea Warfare By Dr. Dani Goldberg • Dr. Sanjeev Seereeram • Bill Key (Top) Swarm multi-UUV concepts are enabled by collaborative mission au- tonomy software operat- ing in a "backseat driver" mode in conjunction with onboard vehicle manage- ment systems. (Bottom) At-sea testing for 37-node undersea sensor network using COMPACT (DARPA CNAV, 2009).

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