Taking the Plunge! SERDP FY14 Underwater Research Progress

As the land-based portion of the program comes to a successful conclusion, the Munitions Response Program Area has shifted its focus to munitions in the underwater environment. The goals of the underwater program are to develop an understanding of techniques for detection, classification, and remediation of submerged military munitions. Four recent new starts illustrate the breadth of this SERDP investment.

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Dr. Ahmad Abawi from Heat, Light and Sound Research, Inc. is leading MR-2408 to develop accurate and efficient finite element computational tools to calculate the acoustic response of a number of munitions. Traditional computation methods require significant time to characterize the response of each munition of interest, making the development of a library of responses an onerous process. This approach will reduce the computational burden significantly, leading to the prospect of rapidly acquiring the classifier training data in advance of an underwater munitions response. Preliminary results of the analysis will be available in spring of 2015.  

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University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign researchers Dr. Marcelo Garcia and Dr. Blake Landry, MR-2410, are exploring the mechanisms that dictate the fate and transport of munitions in the coastal environments with sand or gravel beds. Using his specially designed laboratory, Dr. Garcia and his team will also simulate wave action and identify the impacts to underwater munition motion, transport and fate. Detailed measurements captured from these experiments will aid with the development of predictive models and are anticipated during the summer of 2015.

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Dr. Robbert van Vossen from the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research is leading MR-2415. This SEED project is developing a proof-of-concept design for a UXO detector for underwater surveys using low-frequency (LF) sonar. The UXO detector developed in this project will contribute to achieving an operational capacity for performing wide-area surveys of underwater military munitions sites using LF broadband sonar. Field experiments have been completed and a Final Report is expected in the spring of 2015.

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Circular synthetic aperture sonar (CSAS) has been demonstrated to be a powerful tool and Dr. Jermaine Kennedy at the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Panama City Division (NSWC-PCD) and Dr. Timothy Marston at the University of Washington, Applied Physics Laboratory (UW-APL) will be leading MR-2439 to further develop this technology. The team will explore new methods by which an environmentally specific training set could be created for use at demonstration sites to facilitate coherent coregistration of multiple CSAS data scans. Preliminary results and analysis are being reviewed by the SERDP Munitions Response Program Area.

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