Military Technology 06/2021

32 · MT 6/2021 THEME: Homeland Security A Coastal Trident 2021 demonstration displayed a system of systems that can monitor a controlled space and deploy autonomous platforms to engage intruders with non-lethal effectors. (Photo: USN/Dana Rene White) In one scenario at the Port of Hueneme, for example, an industry team employed a small unmanned vessel as a force multipli­ er to provide an initial non-lethal response to a threat. In the actual demonstration at the entrance to the Port of Hueneme, the target – a Navy High-Speed Maneuvering Surface Target (HSMST) boat – was ap­ proaching a restricted area and needed to be slowed so that security forces could get the boat to safely exit the area. The team in­ cluded Marine Arresting Technologies (MAT) of Tarpon Springs, FL., SpotterRF of Provo, UT, ION of Houston, TX, and Theiss UAV Solutions of Salem, OH. “The goal of our team is to detect and engage a high-speed leisure craft entering a security zone ‘on the plane,’ without dam- age to the vessel or occupants,” explained Matthew Searle, MAT’s Chief Technology Officer. “Our objective is to determine tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) for the use of unmanned platforms to deploy non-ki- netic effectors, including launch and recovery procedures, the ability to maneuver and deploy payload, and to investigate if speed and stability of the platform is practical in a port environment.” In the demonstration, the small flat-panel SpotterRF C550 perimeter surveillance radar detected and tracked a target and passed information to the C2 hub provided by ION, which showed how effective data fusion and tracking and can be used to direct the interception of fast-moving tar­ gets. The SpotterRF data was fed into the C2 system using ION’s MARLIN platform technology to plan and execute the missions for the UAV. MAT fitted the UAV with a composite canister and a command-initiated life jacket air flask, that inflated an airbag that in turn discharged an arresting line in front of the vessel. The drone launched and autonomously de­ ployed the arresting line, and then returned. The UAV can be recovered and the system reloaded for subsequent missions. According to Ken Gardner, SpotterRF’s Business Development Manager, the SpotterRF C550 radar has a range of about 1.5km, weighs 1.6kg and is about the size of a laptop computer. It easily be set up or taken down in minutes, and multiple sensors can be networked together to cover larger areas, ‘shadow zones’ or other sensor blind spots. The C550 is in the middle of the SpotterRF product line – the company has Maritime security and safety are not all-or-nothing propositions. True, there are scenarios in which a vessel entering a posted restrict- ed zone must be stopped. In more likely scenarios, presumably inno- cent vessels may unknowingly sail into or near a restricted or exclu- sion area, but may not necessarily constitute a threat that must be addressed with force. Sometimes, such vessels need to be warned or slowed down, so it can be persuaded to turn around, without any permanent damage. That is one of the scenarios given to participants in the six-month-long Advanced Naval Technology Exercise (ANTX)/Coastal Trident 2021, which concluded with an ‘open house’ in September at the Ventura Tech Bridge within Fathomwerx Lab in Port Hueneme, CA. Fathomwerx is a part­ ner-run facility between the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Port Hueneme Division (NSWC PHD), the Port of Hueneme, the Economic Development Collaborative and Matter Labs. This year, the exercise is examining the operational and technical ca­ pabilities of port and maritime security organizations to counter asym­ metric threats to the US Marine Transportation Systems (MTS) and its associated personnel, operations, and critical infrastructure. ANTX/CT21 encompassed over 50 projects and 35 topics, including over a dozen live exercises over the past six months. Other scenarios addressed during ANTX/CT21 included a hypothetical radiological weapon discovered on a deep-sea oil drilling platform, and local and federal dive teams joining together to salvage a sunken ship. A retired US Navy captain, Edward Lundquist covers the naval beat for MilTech from Springfield, VA and is a regular contributor to sister publication Naval Forces . Edward Lundquist Countering Threats to Ports and Naval Forces Coastal Trident Targets Small Companies and Innovative Technologies f