The Australian Defence Force Trials Laser-Firing Drone Sensor for Beach Mapping

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) recently conducted a trial using a drone-based laser-firing sensor to map beaches and the seabed for amphibious landings. The trial took place during Exercise Sea Raider 2023, where the Australian Amphibious Force deployed an S100 unmanned aerial system equipped with a LiDAR (light detection and ranging) sensor.

The LiDAR sensor projected green wavelength laser beams through the sea surface to collect littoral and terrain geospatial data. The ADF also tested different altitudes for flying the drone to assess the effectiveness of the technique. The S-100 drone is capable of flying up to 200 kilometers (124 miles) on day or night missions in various weather conditions. It can be integrated with a ship’s system to assist with intelligence and air traffic control missions.

Lt. Cmdr. Thomas Lennards from the Australian Amphibious Force explained that the survey plans generated from the data collected are used for navigating hazards, beach entry and exit points, helicopter landing zones, bridges, hinterland, and terrain. The information gathered is compared to nautical charts and satellite imagery to ensure accuracy and identify anomalies.

In addition to the beach mapping trial, the Australian Defence Science and Technology Group (DST) conducted tests on handheld 3D laser scanners for tactical applications, such as battlefield damage assessment. Dr. Alexander Lee, a geography scientist from DST, emphasized the significance of scientific service trials in accelerating the transition of research into operational use. This enables the ADF to enhance its effectiveness and mission outcomes.

The successful trials of the drone-based laser-firing sensor and handheld 3D laser scanners demonstrate the ADF’s commitment to leveraging scientific advancements for military operations. By harnessing the power of technology and scientific research, the ADF aims to empower its personnel and improve the outcomes of their missions.

Definitions:
– LiDAR: Light detection and ranging, a remote sensing method that uses laser light to measure the distance to an object or surface.
– ADF: Australian Defence Force, the military organization responsible for the defense of Australia.

Sources:
– “The Australian Defence Force Trials Drone Laser Sensor for Seabed Mapping” – Naval News
– “Australian Defence Force Trials Drone Laser Sensor for Seabed Mapping” – Naval News