Satellites and mobile phones, built to international standards, help the world get connected. But the communications technology used on land does not work well underwater. With water covering over 70% of the earth’s surface, NATO has sponsored research into establishing the first ever digital underwater communications standard.
Imagine a scuba diver approaching the surface, being made aware of nearby boating activity; or a submarine communicating with a land-based command post; or an underwater robot sending a warning to an oil rig after a leak is detected – the possible applications of underwater communications are many. For example, they could be used in many areas: for harbour protection, maritime surveillance, mine detection, surveying offshore wind farms and pipelines, or even underwater archaeology.
The NATO Science and Technology Organization’s Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation (CMRE) has developed a standard for underwater acoustic communications called JANUS, which has been recognised as a NATO standard by all NATO Allies since 24 March 2017. This marks the first time that a digital underwater communication protocol has been acknowledged at international level and opens the way to develop many exciting underwater communication applications, it has been reported. To this effect NATO issued a communiqué on 27 April.