Navy Tests New Unmanned Mine Detection System
There is a new piece of technology that is undergoing testing with the U.S. Navy and it’s a game changer. The Office of Naval Research (ONR) unveiled a new way to detect buried and submerged mines using drones.
Dr. Rosemarie Oelrich, a scientist at NSWC Carderock’s Combatant Craft Division, and Dr. Cory Stephanson, president and CEO of BDS, tested the new Mine Warfare Rapid Assessment Capability (MIW RAC) system. ONR’s TechSolutions program is the sponsor of the system.
“See that large cluster?” said Stephanson during the demo. “That’s the dummy mine we buried. The smaller blotches near it are construction rebar we found nearby. The drone detected and localized these items quickly and accurately, which would be extremely valuable in a real combat scenario.”
“This technology will help Sailors and Marines who are approaching a beachfront to rapidly clear, or at least determine the location of, mines or other hazards that are in their way,” said ONR Command Master Chief Matt Matteson. “It could potentially save a lot of lives.”
MIW RAC is a portable, one-pound quadcopter. It’s capable of detecting buried or underwater mines during amphibious beach landings. MIW RAC would provide a new, real-time aerial complement to existing underwater mine-detection capabilities.
“Everyone wants to know where they are going and what they are about to get into,” said Oelrich, who is overseeing the development of MIW RAC. “It helps to have a rapid capability to just fly something in the air and survey an area before you put troops on the ground or bring a vessel ashore.”
While the quadcopter and tablet device are available commercially, the heart of MIW RAC is its proprietary magnetometer sensor suite—which has an extensive detection range and uses complex algorithms to differentiate between various types of objects.