Diver detection sonar technology developed by Sonardyne International Ltd, UK, has played a part in an international exercise organised to train naval forces in mine countermeasures, maritime security operations and harbour protection operations.
The International Mine Counter-Measures Exercise (IMCMEX) runs off the coast of Bahrain every 18 months to test the abilities of the navies of the world to keep sea lanes open and safe. A total of 6,500 personnel and 38 warships from 44 navies took part in the event, the third and largest so far.
Sonardyne’s Sentinel Intruder Detection Sonar (IDS) is a sonar that has been developed to detect divers and small underwater targets, thereby providing local underwater situational awareness. It detects, tracks and classifies targets including surface swimmers, divers and underwater vehicles approaching a protected asset up to 1 kilometre away from any direction.
Over the course of the three week long exercises, the US Navy owned and operated expeditionary Sentinel system was deployed in a variety of scenarios. Divers from participating countries were challenged to evade detection during simulated assaults on various naval assets protected by Sentinel. On each occasion, Sentinel was successful in alerting operators to the approaching threat, Sonardyne wrote.
For this year’s IMCMEX, organisers broadened the focus of the exercise to include maritime security operations such as escorting and defending commercial shipping, and maritime infrastructure protection for oil rigs and harbours. “With a quarter of the world’s navies in attendance, this was the perfect environment to demonstrate Sentinel’s capabilities in protecting high value offshore facilities, ports and critical waterside infrastructure,” commented Nick Swift, Sonardyne’s Business Manager for Maritime Security.