The Mine Counter Measures (MCM) division of South African Navy conducted an experiment in reviving the MCM capabilities in the Mine Warfare Squadron from October 05-09, 2015.
In the last few years, the Mine Warfare capability has experienced a steady decline in both skilled personnel and equipment, SA Navy wrote.
The experiment’s main objective was to find a contingency operational capability of the MCM with the existing system.
The Institute for Maritime Technology (IMT) assisted the SA Navy to plan and execute the experiment.
The main contribution of IMT was the provision of the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV).
Once programmed, the AUV surveys a designated area autonomously, passing back limited information to the survey team.
On completion of the survey the vehicle is recovered and the survey data downloaded. The main sensor of interest to MCM is the AUV’s side scan sonar. With it, an image of the sea bottom is created in enough detail to detect mine-lite objects, SA Navy explained.
The survey covered an area of approximately 800x400m and took roughly 2.5 hours to complete. All objects that had been placed in the survey area were detected.
The data was processed to be displayed on a Geographical Information System (GIS), showing position and images of the detected objects.
On the 2nd day the survey was performed in deeper water at 30m depth.