Project Objectives

The project AMMOTRACe aims to develop new shipboard and in situ measurement approaches to detect in real-time munition compounds (MCs) and chemical warfare agents (CWAs) in coastal systems, and demonstrate the chemical techniques alongside traditional geophysical measurements at munition dumping sites and regions with presence of munitions. The project will develop new laser photoionisation mass spectrometry (PIMS) and ion mobility spectrometry (IMS) based approaches, by combining the latest laser, ion detector, platform and communication technologies to be used for marine munition detection and clearance. Innovative membrane inlet (MI) technology in combination with laser-based PIMS provides a high selectivity and sensitivity for MC and CWA detection. Additionally, IMS will indicate the presence of dissolved MCs and CWAs, which can be further specified by PIMS-system. AMMOTRACe will design, develop, prototype and demonstrate complete technology solutions for new real-time ship-board and in situ marine munition analysers and observation systems for MCs and CWAs at coastal munition dumping sites, and areas with presence of unexploded ordnance. The project takes advantage of new on-line MS and laser technologies and the latest developments in marine ship-board and in situ munition detection science and observation systems.

1: Design and develop a PIMS and IMS device for direct real-time and rapid ship-board analysis of MCs and CWAs.

2: Design and develop a submersible PIMS and IMS device for direct real-time and rapid in situ analysis of MCs and CWAs on a remotely operated vehicle (ROV)

3: Design and develop Nd:YAG-laser – optical parametric oscillator (OPO) systems with tuneable wavelengths as sources for photoionization, for ship-board and in situ submersible use

4: Design and develop membrane inlet (MI) systems for integration into ship-board and in situ PIMS/IMS devices for MC and CWA detection

5: Develop and optimise analytical MC and CWA measurement techniques for ship-board and in situ PIMS/IMS devices

6: Design and develop components and interfaces for underwater deployment of the submersible PIMS/IMS device

7: Demonstrate application of PIMS/IMS on board of research and commercial EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) vessels for MC and CWA detection, with application of underway water supply for real-time MC analysis and collection of discrete samples for land-based laboratory validation

8: Demonstrate application of PIMS/IMS on a ROV for in situ MC and CWA detection of near-seafloor waters and sediment porewaters at a coastal munition dumping site, with associated automated collection of  discrete water samples, surface sediments and porewaters for method validation

The strategic and commercial goal of AMMOTRACe is to reduce the risks, duration and costs of marine munition clearance operations, through application of real-time chemical MC and CWA sensing approaches.  This will provide societal benefits, but also will facilitate operations by marine EOD companies.

Ship-board and in-situ ROV detection of MCs and CWAs will speed up identification of munitions, which enables reduction in shiptime, and reduces costs and duration of marine EOD operations. Ship-board and in-situ ROV detection will enable real-time target identification, which reduces the number of false positives and reduces costs of sample transport and analysis in shore-based laboratory.