The SeaBat 7112 and SeaBat 7123 waterside security systems were tested successfully during NATO harbour protection trials (HPT08).

In September the NATO harbour protection trials took place in Eckernfoerde, Germany, under the auspices of the Maritime Capability Group Three on Mines, Mine Countermeasures and Harbour Protection.

For the first time this year it was decided to look at all possible terrorist threat scenarios for the protection of ships in harbours or berthed. These were to include attacks from the air, above water and underwater.

The waterside trials were designed to test the equipment in a range of realistic scenarios including harbor inspection, inspection of a mooring and swimmer detection.

A number of companies were selected to participate in the trials in order to demonstrate their systems capabilities and RESON participated in cooperation with UK company BAE Systems and Italian companies WASS, SELEX and Calzoni.

BAE Systems participated with the Talisman automated underwater vehicle (AUV), which was designed to meet a range of operational requirements dependent on customer requirements. These include conventional military mine hunting, as well security operations such as harbour protection.

The Talisman can be operated autonomously on pre-programmed missions but also has the capability for the operator to intervene throughout the mission should the operational situation change. The operator communicates with the vehicle and systems via RF or Iridium SatCom while the vehicle is surfaced and via acoustic communications systems when vehicle is underwater.

For the trials the Talisman was fitted with a nose-mounted RESON SeaBat 7123 with a dedicated software interface specifically developed to exchange target information and receive control commands. It is believed this was the first time a forward-looking MCM sonar had been fitted to an AUV.

During the exercises the Talisman was tasked to perform a harbour inspection, berth inspection and the search of an area immediately outside the harbor using SeaBat. Various mine-like objects (MLOs) were deployed in and outside the harbour and the mission was to find and identify these objects.

Operating at 240kHz the Seabat 7123 was able to collect good-quality imagery and provide a detailed survey of the harbor bottom. However, the cluttered nature of the harbor bottom made it difficult to distinguish the MLOs immediately. This issue would be addressed by building a detailed database of the harbor bottom, then using that data on subsequent re-inspections to identify new and potential threat objects.

In two other scenarios a pier-mounted and ship-mounted SeaBat 7112 was used for diver detection. For these exercises RESON sonars and a tactical display were integrated into the Selex command and control system and, despite a very busy environment with many fish shoals and slow-moving vessels, the SeaBat was able to make two clear diver detections. The divers in both cases were using a strategy of moving from pier to pier and waiting but the Seabat was able to re-acquire the diver on each occasion.