The Naval Undersea Warfare Center
Newport provided a demonstration on Sept. 20 of an integrated swimmer
defense system currently being developed in Narragansett Bay off
The system could be used to provide harbor security, protection of Navy
vessels and other high value assets.
Using lightweight active sonar, radar, and electro-optic and infrared
sensors as detection and engagement subsystems, the system is designed
to identify and thwart potential hostile surface swimmers, divers and
divers assisted with diver propulsion vehicles.
"Once we've detected these threats, we have to do something to engage
them because their mission is to destroy the high value asset," said
James Pollock, Director of Homeland Defense Programs, NUWC Newport.
"The underwater sensors are typically active sonar devices that put
acoustic energy out into the water. That energy is reflected back off
of all the surfaces that are out there. We then process the information
and take action."
That action may range from a basic voice alert to a blast from an
underwater air gun that produces 2,100 pounds per square inch of
pressure and forces divers to the surface.
"It gives the diver a good thump," said Pollock.
As a result of its relative mobility, the system is being tested for use
by expeditionary forces. Sailors from the Mobile Inshore Undersea
Warfare (MIUW) Unit 202, based in Newport, assisted with the
demonstration by operating the consoles and providing feedback on the
"It gives us more tools for the toolbox," said Cmdr. Scott Burleson,
commanding officer, MIUW Unit 202. "We go out with different systems and
different sensors and anytime we get something new from a technology
perspective, it's going to help us."
As the technical agent responsible for supporting the Navy's
Anti-Terrorism Afloat Program Office to acquire an Expeditionary
Integrated Swimmer Defense System, NUWC Division Newport has been
working on the system for more than a year, Pollock said. Prototypes
could be used in the fleet within the next two years.