Real time classification of sea mines using MIRK processing in Fleet MCM sonars
Navy SBIR FY2013.1

Sol No.: Navy SBIR FY2013.1
Topic No.: N131-037
Topic Title: Real time classification of sea mines using MIRK processing in Fleet MCM sonars
Proposal No.: N131-037-0311
Firm: Prometheus Inc.
103 Mansfield Street
Sharon, Massachusetts 02067
Contact: Walter Rankin
Phone: (401) 849-5389
Web Site:
Abstract: We will adapt, tailor and apply novel material classification/identification algorithms, developed for the US Navy torpedo program, to Mine Countermeasures (MCM) sonars. This will yield a new capability of exploiting the material and structural composition of acoustic scatterers by providing an estimate of the full scattering kernel, enabling target differentiation and offering far more information than that contained in just the specular/diffractive response: namely scattering from internal regions and internal boundaries, and reradiation or "ringing" due to the elastic response. We will adapt the current torpedo-based MIRK algorithms to MCM sonars to reduce false classifications and other performance degrading issues. Phase I will examine and characterize the physics of the problem using mathematical modeling and recent successful testing with recorded sonar data against real targets. In Phase II we will insert the algorithms in an MCM sonar and demonstrate significant reduction in false classifications and other performance degrading issues as well as real time target classification. A library of reflectivity kernels will be created and requirements for an engineering change proposal will be defined. Project activities will be structured to meet PMS 495 decision gate requirements including testing with actual sonar data and developing documentation to satisfy data calls.
Benefits: The most urgent application of this technology is the significant reduction in the false contact rate of Navy MCM sonars, thus increasing the area search/clearance rates by up to an order of magnitude. In addition, underwater exploration plays a critical role in numerous nonmilitary areas. Its importance ranges from environmental protection and monitoring to finding mineral deposits or sunken objects. The proper identification of sunken objects / clutter in ports is critical to cleaning the environment and / or introducing new underwater hardware. A robust sonar-based material recognition capability would make underwater exploration and exploitation more efficient and cost effective.