Poland has a right to become one of the lead nations of the NATO „Protection of Harbours and Ports” programme. All that could become real, in the light of the works which are being realized by the Gdynia Centre for Maritime Technology (Centrum Techniki Morskiej z Gdyni) R&D department.
Works related to the port protection systems are being realized within the scope of a wider NATO-driven DAT POW (Defence Against Terrorism Programme of Work) initiative, aim of which is to conduct counter-terrorism activities and counteract the asymmetric threats.
At the end of last year, on 10th Anniversary of the programme’s start, a special seminar was held at the NATO HQ in Brussels. Poland was represented by the Research and Development Facility of the Centre for Maritime Technology (a.k.a. OBR CTM S.A.), which currently is a part of the Polish Armament Group. Presence of the OBR CTM S.A. company is fully understandable, since it has been taking part in the DAT POW programme, starting from 2011, mainly dealing with the problems of harbour and port protection operations.
Harbour Protection – A Polish Speciality
During the Seminar, experts from the OBR CTM S.A. company yet again had an occasion to present their achievements within the scope of protecting ports and harbours, particularly in the field of multi-sensor systems which are used to detect and track underwater objects. Secondly, the company also deals with countermeasure systems based on deterrence effectors.
The gathered experience stems, inter alia, from the R&D works realized from 2000 to 2003, aim of which was to develop a multi-sensor harbour protection system for the Polish Navy’s base in Gdynia, also known as “KRYL”. The works have been completed by implementation of a ready solution.
It was then when foundations for a complex system, not only capable of detecting the divers, but also surface vessels and small submarines, operating in the anchoring areas and nearby were created.
Threat Posed By Underwater Sabotage – Problem For The Whole NATO
Results of the tests of a variety of technology demonstrators for several, ready-made systems had a relevant impact on further development of the systems, aim of which is to detect and counteract the maritime terrorism. The tests in question have been carried out by several work-groups, organized within the European Union and NATO structures. Furthermore, conclusions have been made in the reports developed by the NATO NIAG (NATO Industrial Advisory Group). These involved the OBR CTM S.A. company, particularly when it comes to the following reports:
This resulted in OBR CTM S.A. joining the DAT POW programme back in 2011. The company was working on 3 projects, each of which was complementing the remaining ones. All that resulted in development of a new technology demonstrator – an integrated system for detecting and counteracting the maritime terrorist threats.
According to the information provided by OBR CTM S.A. “System for detecting threats has been based on acoustic modules or diver-detection sonar devices, creating the acoustic barriers, and secondly, on a chain of magnetic sensors constituting a magnetic barrier. Portable magnetic barrier may be used both for port protection, as well as for protecting ship groups, as a complementary system which would enhance detection and classification of the underwater terrorist threats. The countermeasures are integrated with the detection system and they are based on non-lethal (air gun AG), semi-lethal and lethal effectors (explosive effectors with a variety of weights)”.
The new technology demonstrator, the integrated detection and countermeasure system which may be used against underwater threats posed by the divers, made its first public appearance, in front of the NNAG (NATO Naval Armaments Group) back in 2013. The tests confirmed the effectiveness of the new solutions which may be used as an element for a stationary, fixed system (for harbour protection), or in a portable form (for protection of the friendly forces).
What’s in it for Poland?
Deep involvement of the OBR CTM company in the DAT POW programme is a factor, thanks to which NATO considers Poland to become a “lead nation” within the scope of the “Protection of Harbours and Ports” task.
Results of works realized within the programme may be later used by the Polish Armed Forces, within the “Ostryga” programme, aim of which is to develop an integrated system to be used for the purpose of protecting the Naval forces stationed in ports, harbours, within the anchoring areas and in roadsteds.