The US Navy's Office of Naval Research (ONR) is helping to provide a capability that will enable explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) technicians to detect mines in very shallow water, provide sufficient standoff, and reduce the detect-to-engage timeline.
The Mine Warfare Rapid Assessment Capability (MIW RAC) is a 1 lb (0.45 kg) quadrotor unmanned aircraft system (UAS) outfitted with an ultra-sensitive magnetometer and other sensors to detect mines and provide real-time data to a handheld Android device.
The data collected is then plotted in near real time on a map to display magnetic anomalies, Jason Payne, assistant programme manager for ONR's TechSolutions, told Jane's .
The InstantEye is a commercially available UAS made by Physical Sciences Inc (PSI). The 3-axis passive magnetometer is built by Broadband Discovery Systems (BDS).
"Our project is mounting two magnetometers on to [InstantEye] as the sensor payload," Payne said.
MIW RAC was demonstrated in April at the Ship to Shore Maneuver Exploration and Experimentation (S2ME2) conducted at Camp Pendleton, California.
"The team conducted flight operations from the shore, over the water space. [We] did a total of 57 flights adding up to 6.7 hours of operation," Payne noted. "[Over the] nine days of participation, [we flew] about eight to 15 sorties per day."
ONR is now exploring additional testing and demonstration opportunities for MIW RAC. "Then we will be delivering the prototypes to NECC for EOD Group [EODGRU] 2's use and evaluation. That might happen in the next few months ... before September," Payne said.
The Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock, Maryland's Combatant Craft Division were already aware of BDS' 3-axis passive magnetometer and they sourced InstantEye to fill the UAS need.
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