Now, the unmanned maritime systems platoon helps
put that diver away from danger, using UUVs to survey and scout possible threats in a minefield or from
underwater explosive devices.
“So within the company, we are able to do the entire
what’s called the ‘Detect to Engage’ sequence of mine
warfare. So we have the capability to go and do mine
hunting with underwater vehicles. We have the capability to identify them with underwater vehicles and
… underwater robotics. Then we retain the diving and
disposal capabilities within the EOD diving MCM platoon,” Unruh said.
All that is done with about 30 personnel, and the
bench is not deep. The company is composed of an
EOD mine countermeasures platoon from EOD Mobile
Unit 11, based at Naval Outlying Landing Field Imperial
Beach, Calif., and a 12-member unmanned systems platoon from EOD Mobile Unit 1 at Point Loma, Calif., as
well as five naval oceanography personnel from Naval
Mine Warfare Command who read the sonar data.
The unmanned systems operators are mostly minemen and AGs, or aerographer’s mates, who get more
UUV training than EOD techs.
“Our EOD techs focus on the diving — that’s their
No. 1 mission — and then they focus on the use
of underwater robotics vehicles,” Unruh said. “Our
unmanned systems platoon, their focus is on employ-
ing the sonars via unmanned underwater vehicles and
then reading that sonar data and then passing off that
product to our EOD Platoon.
“The capabilities of our 30-person unit are right
now surpassing the capabilities of helicopters and
ships,” he noted. Why? “Being able to rapidly deploy
to a location, because we can deploy via aircraft with
tailorable mission packages that are tailored to whatever the mission calls for. So we can get on scene a
“The technology is way better, too, from sonars to
hunt for mines and better accuracy in the information
gathered,” he said. “We are getting amazing results
just with a pretty short amount of training because of
the operational need to get these groups out here was
fairly emergent. The EOD community responded and
got us out here.
“We are still kind of playing catch-up, making sure
everyone is as trained up as they need to be before they
come out here, because it’s a very new concept and we are
taking guys who have never seen an unmanned underwater vehicle before and telling them to use it and deploy. But
we are getting very good results,” he said. n