The SERDP and ESTCP Munitions Response Program held an In-Progress Review in late February. We heard presentations from both FY-17 new starts and projects from earlier funding cycles that are completing. I’ll highlight a few of the projects for those that were unable to attend. Dr. Dean Keiswetter of Acorn SI presented his project “Cloud Computing for UXO Classification.” The goal of this project is to bring the capabilities of the ESTCP-supported UX-Analyze package to a cloud computing environment. This migration will allow many analysts to work on the same project while facilitating access to project results by Government QA geophysicists, project managers, and regulators. The demonstration for this project is currently scheduled for Summer 2019.
Arnis Mangolds of C-2 Innovations, Inc. presented his project “Man-portable Bottom mobility Platform for UXO Investigations.” This team is working to demonstrate a modular man-portable, autonomous or command controlled tractor designed to tow an EMI array in energetic environments near shore. This is a part of the underwater environment in which we are sorely lacking for survey capability but is very important because citizen access to potential UXO is high in the surf zone. The project is making good progress with their Sea Otter system and is on track for their first demonstration this summer.
To close the day, Stanley Tomich of PNNL reported on his project “Preliminary Design Study for Munitions Response Underwater Test Site.” This project examined the prospects for using Sequim Bay, WA, the site of the PNNL Marine Science Laboratory, for an underwater UXO test site analogous to the terrestrial sites established by SERDP and ESTCP at Aberdeen and Yuma years ago. There are many attractive features of Sequim Bay as a test site location; good variety of bottom types, the ability to work at depths appropriate to the underwater munitions response problem, and good support from the Marine Science Laboratory. The major downside of this site is the extended time for permitting for underwater operations and the need to separately permit each sensor. SERDP intends to convene a workshop this summer on underwater test sites to try to work through some of these issues.