Prof Jens Greinert, GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, Germany
The "Blue Growth" strategy of the European Union indicates great potential for an expansion of offshore economic development. The presence of large amounts of submerged munitions (1.6 million tons are expected in German waters alone) constitutes a major obstacle for the sustainable economic use of the European seas. Due to increasing offshore activities the frequency of munitions encounters is bound to increase. Accordingly, the availability of reliable, efficient and objective tools for decision-making during munitions clearance operations will become more important. The tools to be developed during ProBaNNt address the most critical moment in the value chain of munitions clearance: after the detection of munitions and before the clearance operation itself.
The ProBaNNt project aims at improving these decision-making capabilities on various levels and at generating a comprehensive tool to support offshore explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) campaigns. ProBaNNt integrates sustainable convergence, use and analysis of existing EOD data with new data acquisition techniques, such as 3D photogrammetry and ad-hoc assessment of sediment properties. All of this information will be integrated into an EOD decision-making software that uses Bayesian Neural Networks to propose the most viable clearance option for a given munitions item at a given location.
Data will be gathered both by reviewing past EOD campaigns of project partners and other data suppliers, by accompanying EOD campaigns that may potentially take place during the runtime of ProBaNNt and by executing specific field campaigns that project partners will conduct in known munitions dumpsites. These data will be merged into an EOD database that serves as the major source of input for the EOD support tool. The viability of all developments will be validated through dialogue with EOD experts, to determine whether and how these tools improve decision-making capabilities and to adapt the project research according to industry needs.