Advanced technology protects ports from underwater intruders

Authorship

William Grant, Port Technology International, London, UK

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Concern that ports may be vulnerable to terrorist attack has driven the development of a range of sonar systems to provide advanced warning of diver intrusion

In response to the heightened concern of terrorism and the need for advanced methods of security for port and harbour infrastructure, there has been an increase in the development of sonar technology to provide early alert of a submerged threat.  Nevertheless, the design and manufacture of such sonar systems is fraught with problems posed by the difficult environmental conditions encountered in harbours, ports and shallow coastal waters. For example, depth, seabed topography and variable sound profile can lead to problems such as reverberation, multipath reflections and poor range performance. In such an environment swimmer intruders pose a major threat.

Narrow-band sonar systems struggle to deliver either the resolution or the range required to provide adequate warning to positively identify and respond to an approaching threat. But a number of new products have been developed that can resolve these problems. Deployed as a standalone unit or in high numbers as part of an integrated perimeter defence system, the aim of each system is to alert the relevant authorities to an unwanted intruder in time to muster an appropriate  response. A number of such products will be briefly described below, although many others are available.

Cerberus

Under development by QinetiQ, Cerberus – or the ‘Blue Egg’ as it is ….

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