Marine Corps Appears to Increase Mine Countermeasure Capabilities > United States Navy > News Tales

As rolling waves pounded the seashore, the operator deftly maneuvered joysticks on a handheld controller, inflicting the uncrewed aerial car (UAV) just a few ft away to ascend and arc gracefully over the Pacific Ocean.

Whereas airborne, the specifically designed UAV used subtle sensors and software program to identify obstacles and potential hazards beneath the water and sand — all of which appeared on a pill carried by a second operator standing on the seashore.

For the subsequent section of its efficiency, the UAV descended to simply above the water’s floor and slowly submerged its complete physique, gathering much more detailed details about the surf zone earlier than rising once more and flying to a delegated touchdown web site close by. It was a formidable show of using emergent applied sciences to realize better data of the surf zone setting to help Marine Corps amphibious operations.

The UAV was one in all a number of technological methods showcased on the latest Technical Idea Experiment (TCE) 23.2, held at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California. 

Sponsored by the Workplace of Naval Analysis (ONR), in partnership with I Marine Expeditionary Power (MEF), the occasion demonstrated ONR-funded applied sciences designed to boost the Marine Corps’ functionality in finishing up amphibious operations — together with explosive hazard defeat (EHD)/mine countermeasures (MCM) in addition to intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.

“Since their inception, the Marines have been identified for his or her capability to come back ashore and set up a beachhead and transfer inland,” mentioned Dr. Tom Drake, head of ONR’s Ocean Battlespace Sensing Division. “Current and future Marines nonetheless want to hold out such missions. Our purpose is to provide them the absolute best instruments to do this shortly, safely and successfully.”

Bringing collectively army companions resembling Naval Floor Warfare Middle Indian Head Division, the Naval Analysis Laboratory Stennis detachment and Naval Data Warfare Middle Pacific — in addition to representatives from authorities, trade and academia — TCE 23.2 aligned with the rising naval idea often called Expeditionary Superior Base Operations (EABO), which includes deploying small however extremely cellular models to remoted places. EABO has the potential of shortly getting forces right into a strategically important space, and probably in an adversary’s weapons engagement zone, in response to an evolving risk when no different U.S. army belongings can be found.

A key ingredient of EABO is explosive hazard detection and defeat, from the deep water by way of the seashore zone to the inland goal, to allow naval maneuvering. This includes EHD/MCM, impediment detection, and using sensors and software program to find out routes for secure passage round hazards.

Roughly 10 applied sciences developed by way of ONR funding have been demonstrated at TCE 23.2. They concerned ground-penetrating radar, magnetic-anomaly detectors, electro-optical and infrared cameras, and software program for knowledge processing and crunching synthetic intelligence- and machine learning-enabled algorithms. A lot of the expertise proven in the course of the train consisted of superior sensor-and-software methods encased in commercially out there uncrewed (also called unmanned) platforms like UAVs.

“An occasion like TCE advantages warfighters by enabling fast maturation of latest applied sciences,” mentioned Brian Visser, ONR World science advisor to I MEF. “A few of these applied sciences have solely been within the lab or in very sterile situations. However right here we’re testing them within the discipline with the clouds, saltwater, mud and Marine operators, with the intention to shake out the bugs and quickly iterate and make corrections.

“By enabling autonomous platforms and robotics to carry out missions like mine countermeasures, Marines will probably be safer, sooner and extra correct of their detection and defeat of explosive hazards,” he continued.

Dr. Joong Kim, a program officer in ONR’s Ocean Battlespace Sensing Division, mentioned probably the most beneficial features of TCE 23.2 was getting each early-development applied sciences and already fielded methods into the palms of Marines for testing and suggestions.

“By these interactions with Marines, we’re speaking instantly to numerous generations who’re accustomed to seeing a whole lot of expertise growth quickly altering,” he mentioned. “They have been excited to see this new expertise, as a substitute of the standard outdated gear, to see what’s on the horizon [for mine detection and defeat].”

Marine Corps 2nd Lt. Maria Peurach agreed: “Proper now, when trying to find explosive hazards, we’re just about restricted to mine detectors and probing sticks. The expertise proven right here might drastically improve {our capability} to do this. We might do it from farther away, probably fly drones from ships, automobiles or disparate places, with the intention to try this first sweep earlier than Marines are available for the ultimate push.”

Watch a video about TCE 23.2 at

Warren Duffie Jr. is a contractor for ONR Company Strategic Communications.