US Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division (NSWC PCD) has partnered with Bundeswehr Technical Center for Ships and Naval Weapons, Maritime Technology and Research in Northern Germany on the Allied Munitions Detection Underwater (ALMOND) project.

Initiated in January 2015, ALMOND seeks to develop and test novel unmanned autonomous survey concepts through international sea trials and workshops.

The project aims to develop and deliver a mature system concept design to the US Naval Sea Systems Command Expeditionary Missions programme office, SEA 06XM (PMS 408), which will be eventually transitioned into the US Navy's fleet.

"The collaboration will aim to advance technologies and techniques for the detection, classification, and mapping of bottom and buried munitions."

Under the partnership, NSWC PCD mine warfare experts will test their technology, including acoustic and magnetic sensors, alongside comparable German systems in the Baltic Sea next month.

The collaboration will aim to advance technologies and techniques for the detection, classification, and mapping of bottom and buried munitions. It will also benefit the warfighters by providing them with an increased ability to detect submerged and silent sea mines in complex environments.

NSWC PCD physicist Dr Jesse Angle said: "There is a significant worldwide capability shortfall in reliable techniques for mapping underwater munitions for unexploded ordnance remediation and hunting buried and stealthy sea mines in complex environments.

"We are seeking to bring together the best of our unexploded ordnance (UXO) detection capabilities and merge them with those of the Germans, so that both countries can learn and benefit from developments ongoing in the other country."

So far, the project has achieved milestones such as conducting a technical workshop in the US on big picture survey requirements during the third quarter of 2015, US observation of German sea trials, and German observation of US sea trials at a demonstration at Naval Air Station Patuxent River during the third quarter of 2015, among others.

The project is expected to deliver a detailed technical report on sea trials, sensor / test bed, signal and information processing techniques, hardware and software developments, and transition recommendations.

Image: ALMOND project collaborators discussing Capture the Flag (CTF) cybersecurity challenge. Photo: courtesy of US Navy Photo by Katherine Mapp/Released.