There remains a need for technologies to detect, classify, or remediate munitions found at underwater sites (FY23 ESTCP Munitions Response Topic D2). To facilitate sensor development and validation, ESTCP has sponsored four underwater test beds (Sequim Bay, Washington; Shell Island, Florida; Moku o Lo’e, Hawaii; La Spezia, Italy) for unexploded ordnance (UXO) detection technologies. Demonstration sites require time efficient, accurate, and cost-effective methods for the deployment and recovery of seed items, but to date, only some partial combination of these objectives have been met. The objective of this project is to develop a new method to accurately and rapidly emplace and bury targets at ESTCP demonstration sites using a novel vibration routine.

Technology Description

The project team will modify a commercial off-the-shelf vibracoring system to bury seed items through mechanical liquefaction of the seafloor sediment around the seed items. The system will be designed to record real-time kinematic global positioning system position, orientation, and depth of each seed item, with the ability to predetermine seed position, orientation, tilt, and depth prior to deployment. The system will be deployable from most vessels of opportunity and will not rely upon Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus (SCUBA) operations. The project team will design the system to meet the specifications and requirements established by ESTCP for UXO demonstration sites and to ensure the system is operable in the environmental conditions present at existing ESTCP demonstration sites.


ESTCP has established the need for the development of underwater UXO demonstration sites. The Vibration-Induced Precise Emplacement Routine (VIPER) system will both reduce the time required to deploy buried seeds and increase the positional accuracy of the buried seeds. Further, this method reduces the reliance upon SCUBA divers to deploy buried targets and therefore reduces risk of diver error or injury in hazardous environments. The VIPER system will be portable and replicable to meet the growing need for more diverse and larger demonstration sites.