Small Business Collaboration Demonstrates Port Security Technology at Hueneme Port

A team from Ion, SpotterRF and Marine Arresting Technologies uses a drone to autonomously deploy a line that successfully slowed down the Navy target boat entering Hueneme Harbor during ANTX Coastal Trident 2021. ION / Dave Gentile

The Advanced Naval Technology Exercise – Coastal Trident 2021 Open House is taking place this week at the NavalX Fathomwerx laboratory in the Port of Hueneme to examine innovative solutions for port and maritime security. Fathomwerx is a partner-run facility with Naval Surface Warfare Center Port Hueneme Division (NSWC PHD), Port of Hueneme, Economic Development Collaborative, and Matter Labs.

According to Brendan Applegate of the NSWC PHD, exercise director, Coastal Trident is an operational research program conducted to advance the state of the art in countering threats to port and maritime security and global force operations. naval. “ANTX-Coastal Trident is not just a Navy exercise, but rather a ‘whole of government’ effort to bring together non-DoD federal, state, and local government partners, as well as universities and the industry to respond to maritime security threats and incidents in port and coastal waters,” he said. “Coastal Trident combines scenario-based training, technical demonstration, field experimentation and activities of exercise, and involves the participation of more than 150 organizations from the public and private sectors.”

Hybrid event

Although teams are performing demos throughout the week, the virtual “kick-off” event hosted via Zoom on September 22 provided an overview of the Coastal Trident program and featured presentations by operational stakeholders.

Participants representing stakeholders from the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Naval Facilities Engineering and Research, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Department of Homeland Security and Naval Agility provided perspectives on science and technology (S&T), research and development (R&D) and fighter communities to communicate the fighter’s “pull”, provide guidance and alignment for organizations, companies and universities looking to develop and evolve their technical solutions.

The September 23 in-person “open house” sessions at the Fathomwerx facility focused on engagement between operational and technical stakeholders, with presentations on some of the project demonstrations conducted at Hueneme Port and Fathomwerx. Solution providers also had the opportunity to follow the technical needs shared during the first day, propose solutions and discuss collaborations for future ANTX-Coastal Trident projects.

Applegate said many small companies participating in Coastal Trident lacked an adequate understanding of the Navy and its operational requirements or who would benefit most from their technologies.

“We have an environment where we can bring together many organizations to look at technologies from different angles, so there are more paths to success,” he said. We can introduce our participants to all the different parties, the companies that are developing the technology, the people that are going to use it, the program offices that are going to help acquire it, and the people that are going to be part of the logistics and pipeline of sustaining power. So the goal is to bring all of these people together in one form or another throughout the process.

Coastal Trident leverages the facilities and capabilities of NSWC PHD and Ventura TechBridge to support high-speed learning and accelerate the development, evaluation and identification of technology implementation to support naval forces with engineering, maintenance and in-service support capability; fusion of sensor data, maritime communications and decision support; multispectral sensing, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) and digital engineering; and unmanned systems (UxS) applications and countermeasures.

This year’s exercise examines the operational and technical capabilities of port and maritime security organizations to counter asymmetric threats against the United States’ maritime transportation systems (MTS) and its personnel, operations, and critical infrastructure.

A number of teams have been working on their projects for many months and can continue to benefit from the knowledge and experience gained from working together during ANTX.

“This event is the culmination of a lot of effort, but it’s only part of the picture. We’ve been experimenting since May. We have 55 different projects, with approximately 850 people from 160 different organizations, that are part of the program this year,” Applegate said.

Team Entanglement Target

In one scenario at Hueneme Port, for example, a team used a small unmanned vessel as a force multiplier to provide an initial response to a threat.

“Our team’s goal is to detect and engage a high-speed pleasure craft entering a safe zone ‘on the plane’ without causing damage to the vessel or occupants,” said Matthew Searle, director of the Tarpon’s Marine Arresting Technologies (MAT) technology. Springs, Florida. Our objective is to determine the tactics, techniques and procedures for using unmanned platforms to deploy non-kinetic effectors, including launch and recovery procedures, ability to maneuver and deploy the payload, and to investigate whether the platform’s speed and stability are practical in a port environment.

SpotterRF of Provo, Utah, works with MAT, which uses its small radar to track targets and relay information to the command and control center (C2) provided by Houston-based ION, which is demonstrating a fusion of efficient data, fast tracking and interceptions of moving targets.

During the actual demonstration at the entrance to the port of Hueneme, the target – a Navy High-Speed ​​Maneuvering Surface Target (HSMST) boat – was detected by the SpotterRF radar, queuing the ION system C2, who led the launch of the Theiss drone. and sent it autonomously to deploy the MAT drug line ahead of the HSMST, which entangled the boat’s propulsion and slowed it down, effectively allowing time for security personnel to react and preventing or disrupting the intrusion .

The demonstration took place in thick, intermittent fog at the entrance to the harbour. The radar was not only able to track the boat, but also differentiate between the drone, seabirds, floating objects in the water, and pedestrians on the shore, and track them all continuously.

For the demonstration, MAT fitted the UAV with a composite canister with a command-triggered lifejacket air cylinder to inflate an airbag that discharges the arrest line in front of the vessel. The drone can be recovered and the system recharged for later missions.

According to SpotterRF business development manager Ken Gardner, the SpotterRF C550 perimeter surveillance radar has a range of about 1.5 miles, weighs 3.5 pounds, and is about the size of a laptop (although the company has larger and smaller models), and multiple sensors can work together to cover larger areas. It can be set up or taken down in minutes and is powered by regular 117 volt AC or a small 24 hour battery.

ION’s Dave Gentle said radar input was introduced to the C2 system which uses ION’s Marlin platform technology to plan and execute missions for the UAV to autonomously deploy the line of d stop and return.

SpotterRF CEO Frank Cristophersen said ANTX provides a valuable opportunity to bring a team together to collaborate and demonstrate a creative technology solution, with the Navy providing targets, instruments and observers from warfare centers and other organizations that otherwise would not be available to the individual. companies.

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