The Effort to Thwart Underwater Intruders By Maggie L. Merrill There are civilian and military needs for undersea defense. Providing security in U.S. ports is the domain of the United States Coast Guard (USCG) working in collaboration with local fire, police, emergency personnel, ship owners and waterfront operators. The U.S. Navy has the daunting task of protecting American and allied forces in and around ports, harbors and in coastal and offshore environments all over the world. While the USCG's mission is to locate, identify, warn and deter intruders; the U.S. Navy must do all that as well as engage with and eliminate the intruder if necessary. Since September 11, 2001, the civilian swimmer detection mission took on a whole new dimension. To that end the two organizations have had to collaborate at an unprecedented level to leverage intellectual and financial resources to develop the most appropriate systems for each mission. An example of one of these collaborations that is now nearing completion is the Integrated Anti Swimmer System (IAS) that has been under development at the USCG RD Center in Groton, Conn., since 2003. The project, now lead by Ric Walker, Senior Project Leader, provides a means to detect, track, classify, localize, notify and respond to underwater threats. The system uses multiple sonar devices to determine exactly what sort of a target is approaching. Once a target is located with the primary active sonar, a patrol boat is vectored to the sonar target location for detailed assessment with a high frequency imaging sonar. At the same time an underwater "loudhailer"known as eLOUD is activated which is used to notify the diver that they are in a restricted area and should surface immediately. This step is critical to warning divers who may have accidentally wandered into a security zone, and to establish the intent of Coast Guard scientist operates the prototype those who have entered on purpose. Diver Interdiction System during a recent field Recent testing by the Coast Guard has test (Photo Credit: U.S. Coast Guard R&D focused on a non-lethal deterrent for Center) responding to divers who fail to surface after verbal warnings from the loudhailer. The new system is known as a Diver Interdiction System (DIS). This system uses a common seismic survey device known as an air gun to create an acoustic impulse. Divers who are subjected to acoustic impulse "shots" from an air gun become so uncomfortable that they must either leave the area or surface to avoid further discomfort. Testing of a prototype Diver Interdiction System was completed in September 2006 in a cooperative test program with the Naval Submarine Medical Research Lab and the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, Newport. A leading maritime security consultant, May 2007 32 MTR
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