- MUNS enables a navy divers to establish and maintain their position
- Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden are also interested in acquiring a MUNS capability
Australia and the United States are leading a six-nation effort to investigate the possible joint procurement of a GPS-enabled diver navigation system for covert operations.
Consisting of a floating antenna tethered to a hand-held control unit, the Military Underwater Navigation System (MUNS) will enable submerged (as well as surfaced) divers to establish and maintain their position via GPS signals and inputs from other sensors. It will also provide an optional communications capability by receiving and transmitting mission data while on the surface, according to a request for information (RFI) issued by the US Navy's Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR).
With the armed forces of Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden also interested in acquiring a MUNS capability, the solicitation will help SPAWAR officials determine industry's ability to provide compliant systems. The deadline for responses is 9 March 2017.
The Australian Department of Defence will play a key role in evaluating candidates as part of its Future Submerged PNT (Position, Navigation and Timing) Capability project. Prospective suppliers will be expected to demonstrate their systems "in an operationally relevant environment" in Sydney Harbour on 8-23 May.
Based at HMAS Penguin naval base, home of Australia's defence diving school, the trials will assess MUNS contenders for "detectability" (including a desktop review of magnetic and acoustic signatures) and for interoperability with NATO and Australian Defence Force geographic information system sets, command and control (C2)/mission planning systems, submarines, and airborne assets.
Requirements set out in the RFI state that the MUNS diver unit should weigh no more than 20 kg and be able to operate in waters up to 85 m deep (preferably 100 m), with the floating antenna enabling GPS signal reception in conditions up to Sea State 4 (preferably 5).
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