Top Military Use Cases for Underwater Drones
Military and police forces that protect our world count on having robust tools to ensure their assignments can be completed as safely and quickly as possible. Some of their tools include land robots, aerial drones and high-tech night-vision devices. Deep Trekker is now an option when a specific job requires underwater surveillance or inspection.
Last month Deep Trekker attended CANSEC, the largest military exposition in Canada. A recurring topic of conversation among attendees was ‘remote-first’ missions to keep soldiers and military divers as safe as possible. Remote-first underwater inspection missions rely on underwater remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), colloquially named ‘underwater drones’, to observe and assess a situation before sending divers into the water.
Underwater ROVs have traditionally been cumbersome, expensive and difficult to deploy quickly. The Deep Trekker ROVs have a deployment time of under a minute. This is a key factors that has prompted many navies, police forces, S&R groups, and military outfits to use Deep Trekker ROVs in their day-to-day operations.
Let’s dive into some of these situations to get a better idea of how military and police are taking advantage of the remote-first approach to underwater investigations.
Unexploded Ordinance Disposal (EOD) / Mine Countermeasures
After years of war, you’d be surprised to know just how many mines still exist at the bottom of our waterways. It is the military’s job to identify and determine the risk they pose to the public and dispose of them appropriately.
Understandably, having a diver search for these mines is problematic. Tools such as Deep Trekker underwater drones are being used to search, locate, diffuse and recover these devices. Recently a customer used the Deep Trekker DTG2 Worker ROV to research how ocean currents move mines over time for a military contract. Read their story here.
The passageways between countries and regions are getting busier every day. With more unknown vessels entering port, each one needs to be inspected for potential threats, contraband, as well as the surrounding areas of the port.
Hiding contraband on the bottom of a ship’s hull or inside its bow thrusters may seem like a great idea to someone in the smuggling business; no one can see it! In theory it is great, but port security professionals can now quickly receive live video of a vessel’s underside by using an ROV. Again, divers can be used here, but when inspecting the bottom of an unknown vessel, why take the risk of endangering a diver’s life? Not only could there be contraband attached to the bottom of the hull, there could also be something much worse like an explosive device.
To read more about mini-ROVs and contraband inspections specifically follow these links:
Security Sweeps of Ports
People drop things off their boats all of the time, which can harm the next vessel coming in, or in some cases could be something more dangerous. The Deep Trekker ROVs can complete sweeps of ports, including monitoring the submerged infrastructure to check for damage or potential required maintenance.
Stolen cars or evidence can be quickly dumped into a nearby body of water. Police and military professional use the Deep Trekker ROV as an immediate response tool, to instantly start searching an area. a Deep Trekker ROV can stand in for a diver’s observations and can often be deployed before divers arrive on a scene.
Want to see how to pick up objects with the Grabber Arm? Watch this video.
Search and Recovery
Drownings often occur in bodies of water that are also extremely dangerous for divers. Having the Deep Trekker underwater camera for immediate deployment provides some relief to family members by beginning a search immediately. An ROV can also work through large areas in combination with a dive team. When a person is located, divers can either follow the ROV tether to the victim, or the grabber claw can be used for retrieval.
Last fall, we completed a training day for local law enforcement personnel to learn best practices for search and recovery using ROVs and Sonar systems. Want to learn more? See the overview here.
Deep Trekker ROVs are currently being used in military training programs. Many forces have training exercises that requires specific diving exercises or the performance of underwater maneuvers. A Deep Trekker ROV provides the ability to record all the ‘students’ movements and interactions for later review and personal improvement exercises.
All in all, military and police officers handle a wide variety of security challenges. It makes sense that an underwater tool, such as the Deep Trekker ROV is being integrated in so many different ways.
For me, one of the most interesting ways military divers have integrated ROVs into their protocols is by actually operating them themselves below the surface. Deep Trekker’s new Diveable Control System has long life internal batteries and a robust waterproof controller. A diver can send the ROV ahead of them to scout out unknown or confined areas prior to broaching it themselves.
We certainly had a great time at CANSEC this year. The applications outlined above are just some of the ways ‘remote-first’ investigations are currently being done with Deep Trekker ROVs. Do you have any other suggestions? Comment in the section below.