Operational challenges

Modeling and simulation products aid the development and employment of acoustical techniques used to image underwater features, communicate information via the oceanic waveguide or measure oceanic properties (Etter, 2000). Representative applications of these techniques are summarized in Table 1.1.

Technology investment strategies driven by the geopolitical realities of the past decade have greatly influenced the direction of research and development (R&D) in general, and of M&S in particular. These investment strategies have adversely impacted government and academia by diminishing budgets for undersea research, reducing the number of field experiments, reducing at-sea training time and limiting asset modernization. Other economic factors have adversely affected the offshore industries. This situation creates new opportunities and challenges for M&S. As will be discussed below, M&S can be leveraged as enabling technologies to meet the technical and programmatic challenges in naval operations, offshore industries and oceanographic research.

Underwater acoustics also plays a role in the international monitoring system (IMS), which comprises a network of stations that monitor Earth for evidence of nuclear explosions in all environments to ensure compliance with the comprehensive nuclear-test-ban treaty (CTBT). The system employs seismic, hydroacoustic and infrasound stations to monitor the underground, underwater and atmosphere environments, respectively.

Table 1.1 Summary of acoustical techniques and representative applications

Acoustical technique Applications

Image underwater features

Communicate information via the oceanic waveguide

Measure oceanic properties

Detection, classification and localization of objects in the water column and in the sediments using monostatic or bistatic sonars

Obstacle avoidance using forward-looking sonars Navigation using echo sounders or sidescan sonars to recognize sea-floor topographic reference features

Acoustic transmission and reception of voice or data signals in the oceanic waveguide Navigation and docking guided by acoustic transponders Release of moored instrumentation packages using acoustically activated mechanisms

Measurement of ocean volume and boundaries using either direct or indirect acoustical methods Acoustical monitoring of the marine environment for regulatory compliance Acoustical surveying of organic and inorganic marine resources

Bedard and Georges (2000) reviewed the application of atmospheric infrasound for such monitoring. Newton and Galindo (2001) described aspects of the hydroacoustic monitoring network. Moreover, Farrell and LePage (1996) described the development of a model to predict the detection and localization performance of this hydroacoustic monitoring network.

Whitman (1994) reviewed defense conversion opportunities in marine technology and made a distinction between dual use and conversion. Dual use suggests the deliberate pursuit of new research, development or economic activity that is applicable within both military and civilian domains. Conversion implies seeking new uses for existing defense resources. An example of conversion is the utilization of existing undersea surveillance assets as a National Acoustic Observatory. Research uses include stock and migration monitoring of large marine mammals, remote ocean observations, seismic and volcanic monitoring, acoustic telemetry and fisheries enforcement (Amato, 1993; Carlson, 1994).

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