Port and Harbor Security
There has been dramatic development of autonomous systems in the last two years to address specific issues in port and harbor security. The need for security transcends national boundaries, as the global economy is dependent on ports remaining open and commerce flowing in an uninterrupted fashion.
AUVs employed for port security must provide hull, pier, and harbor bottom inspection using their inherent advantages such as exceptional sonar imagery, autonomy, and ability to operate in confined areas. Small AUVs such as the Bluefin Hovering Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (HAUV) and the Bluefin-9 are two-man portable systems with complementary capabilities and components. Bluefin successfully demonstrated both systems to the U.S. Department of Defense and other worldwide organizations and delivered each to the US Navy. The Bluefin-9 with its articulated thruster and the HAUV with its ability to maneuver in all axes are designed for operation in restricted spaces where larger systems cannot operate.
Unmanned undersea and surface vehicles, buoys, and emplaced sensor systems and networks provide a capability to deal with threats against our shipping, our port infrastructure, or our deployed naval assets. Additionally, they provide a method to observe and control piracy and smuggling. The technology is ready now to mitigate the threat of seaborne or hullborne IEDs, swimmer attacks, or the introduction of dangerous contraband. Further, such systems are readily deployable to allow prudent and selective pre-positioning or re-positioning.