Underwater technology searches Honolulu Harbor for mines

US Navy Captain Jim Berdeguez
US Navy Captain Jim Berdeguez

By Tracy Gladden - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - State of the art underwater technology gets put to the test in Honolulu Harbor. It's an effort to remove the man from the minefield. The Unmanned Underwater Vehicle launches in Honolulu Harbor. It uses sonar to search for explosive devices on the sea floor.

"It takes basically pictures of the bottom and were trying to determine if theres any objects on the bottom that may or may not be a danger to navigation of the port," said US Navy Captain Jim Berdeguez.

"It's taking sonar images that are high enough resolution that they almost look like pictures so you can see that theres a lot of tires on the sea floor here," said US Navy Lieutenant Commander James Coleman.

Once they determine what's junk and what isn't, teams of divers then go in and investigate. It costs a half a million dollars but the Navy says keeping divers away from explosive devices is priceless. The UUV was even used in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

"Systems like this were used during the initial phase of OIF to get into the harbor. So systems have been out there for some time they've been slowly moving towards more difficult areas like Honolulu harbor," Coleman said.

That's because here, there's a lot of complications like surface traffic and garbage. The exercise will generate valuable information to protect the countries ports from mine warfare.