The NATO Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation (CMRE) participated for the first time in the DYNAMIC MONARCH exercise, bringing to the operational players a new digital underwater acoustic communications capability that may increase significantly the effectiveness of distressed submarines (DISSUB) escape and rescue operations.
After 10 years of development by CMRE and partners, with support from the NATO Allied Command Transformation (ACT), the first ever standard for digital underwater communications was established in March 2017. It’s called JANUS and is known in formal terms as STANAG4748.
JANUS implements well established digital communications techniques to transmit data with redundancy and cope with difficult acoustic conditions (like noise and reverberation).
During DYMH17, the concept of employing digital underwater communications in a rescue context was tested for the first time with the objective of demonstrating the benefits of modern underwater communication techniques compared with the phonetic biases and inherent difficulties of the 70 year old underwater telephone.
The CMRE Team employed successfully JANUS to deliver, in an automated way, DISSUB information from the Spanish Navy Submarine Tramontana to different Mother Ships for Submarine Search and Rescue (MOSHIP). Several standard communication scripts that are currently implemented using the underwater telephone were also performed effectively between the submarine and the MOSHIP using JANUS.
Moreover, the digital protocol was used to transmit AIS contacts from the MOSHIP to the submarine and to establish a much-welcomed feature of chatting.
The introduction of interoperable underwater digital communications in the rescue scenarios opens the way for more effective operations where information is more rapidly and readily available and where personnel may not be required for data exchange, paving also the ground for the seamless employment of unmanned vehicles.