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Atlas Elektronik demonstrates underwater information technology through acoustic network
 
The surface of the planet Mars is better charted than the bottom of our oceans. The formidable characteristics of the sea, such as extreme water pressure, darkness and the lack of data transmission channels, limit the possibilities for obtaining measurement data. Wireless com-munication underwater is therefore an essential factor in the future research and utilization of the oceans, and still remains a major technical challenge.
The surface of the planet Mars is better charted than the bottom of our oceans. The formidable characteristics of the sea, such as extreme water pressure, darkness and the lack of data transmission channels, limit the possibilities for obtaining measurement data. Wireless com-munication underwater is therefore an essential factor in the future research and utilization of the oceans, and still remains a major technical challenge.
 
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Naval Defense Industry News - Germany
 
 
 
Atlas Elektronik demonstrates underwater information technology through acoustic network
 
The surface of the planet Mars is better charted than the bottom of our oceans. The formidable characteristics of the sea, such as extreme water pressure, darkness and the lack of data transmission channels, limit the possibilities for obtaining measurement data. Wireless com-munication underwater is therefore an essential factor in the future research and utilization of the oceans, and still remains a major technical challenge. Within the scope of studies commis-sioned by the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw), as well as the research and development work of German com-panies, the foundation for a digital communication network under has been laid over the past few years. In this regard, key roles are being played by the Underwater Acoustics and Marine Geophysics Research Institute (FWG) of the Bundeswehr Technical Center for Ships and Na-val Weapons, Maritime Technology and Research (WTD71), the companies L3-Communications ELAC and ATLAS ELEKTRONIK, and the research body Fraunhofer Institute FKIE.
     
The surface of the planet Mars is better charted than the bottom of our oceans. The formidable characteristics of the sea, such as extreme water pressure, darkness and the lack of data transmission channels, limit the possibilities for obtaining measurement data. Wireless com-munication underwater is therefore an essential factor in the future research and utilization of the oceans, and still remains a major technical challenge.
ATLAS ELEKTRONIK SeaCat
     
Building up on previous results, important components were incorporated into an international project of the European Defence Agency (EDA), beginning in 2010, with the participating na-tions German, Italy, Netherlands, Norway and Sweden. This project has the designation RA-CUN (Robust Acoustic Communication in Underwater Networks); its goal is to develop and demonstrate the capability for establishing an underwater ad-hoc robust acoustic network be-tween several moving and stationary nodes. In the time leading up to 2014, several network protocols were developed and tested at sea with international collaboration.
     
Sailors aboard USS Freedom (LCS 1) demonstrated the future concept of operations (CONOPS) for manned and unmanned helicopters aboard littoral combat ships during an underway off the coast of San Diego April 25-May 16, in preparation for an initial deployment of the aircraft later this year.
An underwater acoustic modem is being prepared to land on the sea bottom. The electronics are located in the central cylindrical housing. The cage on the top is a protection for hydrophones, used to listen to underwater soundings. The main acoustic transducer is held by the scientist standing left. This device will later float atop of the lander and emits the signals for the acoustic data transmission. It has a range up to eight nautical miles. The whole assembly is called "bottom node" as it serves as a relay station in the acoustic underwater network.
     
The high point of the project was the practical demonstration of the technology in May 2014. In the Mediterranean off La Spezia, between Genoa and Pisa, it proved possible to set up and successfully operate a large mobile digital network under the water surface. With a total of 16 communication nodes, the two successfully developed methods were demonstrated at sea to observers from the various nations.

For these trials, the research ship “Planet” of WTD71 was used to deploy the autonomous un-derwater vehicle “SeaCat” of the company ATLAS ELEKTRONIK. This robotic mini-submarine scanned the seabed with its sonars and immediately reported the location of submerged ob-jects of interest, e.g. wrecks, to the underwater network. Via a gateway buoy in the communication network, these data were received by acoustic means and forwarded to a shore station
by radio.
     
Sailors aboard USS Freedom (LCS 1) demonstrated the future concept of operations (CONOPS) for manned and unmanned helicopters aboard littoral combat ships during an underway off the coast of San Diego April 25-May 16, in preparation for an initial deployment of the aircraft later this year.
For these trials, the research ship “Planet” of WTD71 was used to deploy the autonomous un-derwater vehicle “SeaCat” of the company ATLAS ELEKTRONIK.
     
Thanks to the key technology developed in the RACUN project, a significant basis has been created for underwater communication, with the prospect of achieving further advances in the utilization and exploration of the oceans.

RACUN is being carried out by a consortium consisting of various European companies and institutes under the lead management of ATLAS ELEKTRONIK. The project partners include FWG, L3 Communication ELAC Nautik, Fraunhofer FKIE, Develogic, FFI, Kongsberg, FOI, SAAB, TNO, CSSN, the University of Padua, WASS and Cetena. The project supervision team, comprising representatives of the participating nations, is headed by WTD 71/FWG.