Many ranges and training areas on military installations are located near water environments such as ponds, lakes, rivers, estuaries and coastal oceans. When munitions leftover from previous military training and weapons testing activities migrate to coastal and inland waters, it can be difficult to retrieve them. Underwater environments pose a more unique set of challenges than dry land for established and emerging characterization technologies. Most of the areas that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Navy have identified as potentially containing munitions are shallow water environments (0-120 feet), which pose a greater risk to human health.
SERDP and ESTCP have supported research to advance technologies that detect, classify and remediate underwater military munitions. In 2021, SERDP funded projects that will improve wide area and detailed surveys of munitions by quickly characterizing and mapping underwater environments, detecting munitions in cluttered backgrounds, classifying targets under complex conditions, and localizing potential targets to rapidly and accurately return for removal/disposal. The selected projects are described in greater detail below.
These projects will enhance current technologies and develop new approaches for wide area and detailed surveys of munitions in a variety of complex and shallow underwater environments. Such efforts will ultimately enable cost-effective characterization, remediation, and management of underwater munitions response sites.