By Paolo Franchi
Unmanned underwater glider detectability properties: tests during CMRE sea-trial NREP18 against ISR platforms participating in NATO Trial on ISR Unified Vision 2018. Vicen Bueno, Raul; Wittwer, Stefan; Cimino, Giampaolo; Berni, Alessandro; Merani, Diego; Cocchetti, Pierluigi; Russo, Aniello; Cecchi, Daniele. CMRE-FR-2018-014. April 2019.
The overlap in June 2018 of the CMRE Nordic Recognized Environmental Picture 2018 (NREP18) seatrial and the NATO Trial on Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) Unified Vision 2018 (UV18) provided an excellent opportunity for NATO and national ISR platforms to test the detectability/stealth properties of unmanned underwater gliders at the sea surface in different scenarios/areas/environments. It was the first time CMRE participated in such a trial. This opportunity was exploited through the creation of a Maritime Vignette in UV18. All assets composing both the Blue Force/Allied Task Group (BLUFOR TG) (UV18 assets) and the Red Force (REDFOR) TG (NREP18 assets) were operated live. There were no simulated assets in the vignette. The vignette was developed in two phases in different location areas (Phase I: East of Iceland waters, Phase II: North of Norway waters) based on NREP18 scientific plans in June 2018. UV18 participating assets in this vignette (a NATO AWACS, a USA MPA-P8 and a NOR Corvette) planned their activities according to these phases. Four live days were planned for the Maritime Vignette, two in Phase I (14 and 15 June 2018) and two in Phase II (21 and 25 June 2018). Two live days were successfully run (15 and 21 June 2018). Two live days (14 and 25 June 2018) were not run due to unfavourable environmental conditions, making the flights of the BLUFOR assets unsafe. From the two successfully executed days, the BLUFOR TG ISR platforms (NATO AWACS and USA MPA-P8) were able to detect the REDFOR TG surface vessels (NRV Alliance and DEU RV Planet), but not the unmanned underwater gliders at the sea surface. Analyses of the potential reasons why this detection did not happen are reported here. Vignette plans and results, lessons learnt, recommendations and further work activities are provided as well. CMRE thanks the NOR Navy for enabling CMRE to provide NREP18 data into UV18 classified network, the NATO NAEW&C for contributing with a NATO AWACS for two days in the Maritime Vignette, and the USA Navy for contributing with a MPA-P8 for three days in the Maritime Vignette.