The Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC), a US Navy research and development centre, has supported the remote installation of a fathometer on a ship in Pearl Harbor.

Under normal circumstances, NUWC Keyport sends In-Service Engineering Agents (ISEAs) to ships and facilities for crew training and support system installation.

However, the Covid-19 related restrictions impelled the unit to revise their mode of work.

The work involved installing the AN/UQN-10 fathometer on a vessel. Fathometers is an instrument that helps in determining the depth of water and helps ships to safely navigate.

NUWC Keyport Fathometer ISEA team lead Tommy Coughlin said: “The AN/UQN-10 is a new safety-of-ship navigation system. The high importance of the AN/UQN-10 system to the ship, coupled with the low level of experience with it in the fleet, makes our job of testing and training even more critical.

“Testing, execution and crew training are all vital to a crew’s success as they transition from a major yard period back to a sea-going asset.”

The work programme was carried out in close coordination between the Fathometer ISEA team, the NUWC Keyport Pearl Harbor detachment and the NUWC Keyport Instructional Media Development Group (IMDG).

It involved creating a distance-learning product to support necessary crew training as no local personnel with specific knowledge were available.

IMDG training specialist Jason Morris said: “Normally, an instructor would fly out to the ship, but, due to travel restrictions and time, we opted for a video that meets this same requirement.

“We were able to record the instructor using the equipment and entering the required information on the required software. We then organised the lessons into 11 short training videos we could securely send to the ship.”

After the video series was sent, the NUWC Keyport Pearl Harbor detachment personnel carried out system certification testing.

The video is expected to be incorporated into future computer-based training programmes as it also heralds a new standard method of providing remote assistance during times of need.