Underwater submarine hunting gliders are being rigorously trialled in the North Atlantic, say the Royal Navy.
One of the Slocum Gliders is right now being tested to the limit as it hoovers up information about the seas west of Scotland during a five-month deployment. The unmanned Slocum is capable of sending near real-time information on temperature, depth, salinity (salt content), currents, oxygen levels, turbulence and more.
According to a Royal Navy release:
“These parameters can impact the efficiency of the sonar and sensors used by the Type 23 frigates and Merlin and Wildcat helicopters – as well as the Royal Air Force’s P-8 Poseidon – during submarine hunting operations. Currently, data collection takes months, but these gliders can not only provide unparalleled insight, they can also relay information in a matter of hours.
The intention is for the navy to eventually deploy gliders continually to high-threat areas to give a clear and constant picture of the underwater battlespace, meaning operational decisions will be based on the very latest information. Having this data quickly means sub-hunters will be able to adapt better when they are attempting to detect underwater surface threats.”
The gliders can reportedly provide up-to-date information on these matters quickly to TAC HM (tactical hydrography, meteorology and oceanography) trained officers who can then advise submarine hunting commanders about the range of the ship’s sonars and how to adjust settings for best results.