The Underwater Munitions Expert System (UnMES) is one of the key technologies being developed to help distinguish between underwater areas likely and unlikely to be contaminated with high risk unexploded ordnance. The objective of this project is to support UnMES by further developing parameterized process models for use within the system.

Technical Approach

This project will extend a highly successful collaboration between the Virginia Institute of Marine Science and the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory that began in FY 2012 under SERDP projects MR-2224 (led by C. Friedrichs) and MR-2227 (led by S. Rennie and A. Brandt). In SERDP project MR-2224, Dr. Friedrichs developed simple parameterized process models for near-field interactions of flow and sediment with UXO, including initiation of horizontal motion and scour-induced burial. Both these processes were then incorporated into UnMES by Dr. Rennie and Dr. Brandt in SERDP project MR-2227. In this new project, Dr. Friedrichs will provide Dr. Rennie and Dr. Brandt parameterized formulations for UXO re-exposure and migration in response to far-field processes, including bedform migration and beach profile evolution. The components of the technical approach are to: 1) identify and compile existing data from the scientific literature and from the coastal engineering, geology, and Department of Defense (DoD) communities regarding the re-exposure and migration of underwater UXO and UXO-like objects due to far-field hydrodynamics and sediment dynamics; 2) utilize these data on far-field processes to further develop and constrain simple, rational, parameterized models for UXO re-exposure and migration; and 3) provide these improved parameterized model formulations to other investigators for use within UnMES, as well as to the larger SERDP, DoD, coastal engineering, and scientific communities.


Better understanding and predictive ability regarding the re-exposure and migration of UXO will greatly enhance the ability of DoD to detect and thus characterize and remediate these environmental and safety hazards. The scientific and engineering communities will also benefit from a better and more unified understanding of fundamental controls on the interaction of sediment with munitions-sized objects, including a wide range of natural and manmade objects. (Anticipated Project Completion - 2018)