Subsea GofM Acoustic Experiments Begin
The test event dubbed TREX is a Target Reverberation Experiment with the key objective to understand how undersea environments impact the acoustic signature of a target. The collected data will be compared to sophisticated, physic-based, propagation and target scattering models. TREX is also being referred to as Gulf of Mexico Exercise 2013, or GULFEX13.
"TREX will be conducted with support from ONR and the Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP)," said Dr. Joe Lopes, branch head, Littoral Acoustics and Target Physics, NSWC PCD. "The experiment will last approximately nine weeks. The first of three research vessels, R/V Sharp, arrived April 10, 2013 and prepared for experiment participation at NSWC PCD, located in Panama City, Fla. The other vessels include R/V Smith and the Canadian vessel CFAV Quest."
"During the second week of June, sediment characterization work will begin with the NATO Science and Technology Organization's Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation (CMRE) [formerly referred to as the NATO Undersea Research Centre (NURC)]," said Lopes. "Their work includes identifying sediment parameters by processing ambient noise data recorded on a hydrophone array fixed to an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV)."
The researchers will use unmanned systems, various sonars, like the Bottom Object Scanning Sonar, and sensors to monitor sediment properties in order to understand how real-world environments impact acoustic signatures.