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US Navy Acquires Latest Generation MCM Software

10 January 2011

The US Military has acquired six upgraded licences of the latest underwater situational awareness technology for supporting Clearance Diving and Mine Countermeasures (MCM) Forces. The software known as SeeTrack Military or COIN (Common Operator Interface Navy – specifically tailored for the US Navy EOD), was developed by Scottish-based software company, SeeByte.

The newest version comes with two modules - Performance Analysis Training Tool (PATT) and Automated Target Recognition (ATR) using Computer-Aided Detection & Computer-Aided Classification (CAD/CAC) components. They are designed to provide a higher level of awareness, accuracy and confidence within the context of the individual systems’ sortie and overall MCM Mission. The modules are visualised in the current COIN and SeeTrack Military software, originally developed by SeeByte specifically for US Navy EOD Forces, but now deployed in 10 NATO and NATO Friendly Nations’ Navies.

The ATR module uses CAD/CAC to detect specific regions in side-scan sonar data that potentially correspond to an object previously learned by the system. Multiple CAD detectors identify and discriminate objects several times providing better accuracy in mine detection. Obvious false alarms are removed by the CAC component creating an accurate map of contacts for operators to examine within the surveyed area. The new module is also being used as an engine to run third party CAD/CAC algorithms, such as those developed by the US Navy.

PATT allows users to add synthetic but highly realistic images of objects to real mission data, providing a clear understanding of the actual performance of the MCM system and sensors in use. ATR algorithms, MCM systems and operators can utilize PATT to train and to analyse performance and segment the mission area in a visual layer that is based upon the region’s seafloor complexity and mine-huntability.

Jon Wood, Vice President of SeeByte US-Operations said, “The software has been provided to allow evaluation and operator feedback. One of the strengths of COIN is its upgradeability and the spiral development approach taken by the US Navy during acquisition. These modules can be used to significantly improve overall performance of all the systems used in MCM missions and allow the operators to make rapid, well informed decisions. We’re confident that this additional software will prove to be a useful, useable and relevant tool for the US Navy.”

Wood adds, “MCM Operators come with a variety of individual skills, preferences and abilities, as do the systems they use in the minefield, therefore the system has to account for each Operator’s likes and dislikes, skill level, and specialty. The difficulties lay in the timeliness of mission and post mission analysis execution and in being able to successfully identify objects and characterize the environment in a repeatable fashion from one operator and/or system to the next (i.e. Detect mine-like objects efficiently and accurately every time). Due to varying degrees of experience, ability, and conditions, missions are not always completed resourcefully. These newly developed modules assist operators and the ATR algorithms to tune their abilities to a specific environment and analyse their performance; allowing for greater accuracy and overall improvements in mission efficiency.”

Todd Webber, of Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center, PACIFIC, commented that “successfully integrating these two new modules into COIN and SeeTrack Military will bring new efficiencies to the way we operate. Speedier and smarter decisions, enabled by the intuitive assistance provided by PATT and ATR, will significantly enhance the timeliness and effectiveness of our operations. We are excited and intrigued to review the latest capabilities offered by SeeByte.”