NATO Undersea Research Centre – NURC (NATO)

Formerly known as SACLANTCEN, NURC, a NATO Research Centre for maritime innovation, is one of three research and technology organizations in NATO and it conducts research in support of operational and transformation requirements. It was established in 1959 and since then it has been focused on the undersea domain and on solutions to maritime security problems. What make NURC unique in the world research panorama is the ability to conduct maritime research from concept formulation to validation at sea, thanks to its two research vessels for experiments at sea and research and development laboratories for acoustic and oceanographic studies. NURC has acquired, developed and is currently maintaining a vast set of equipment designed to conduct experiment at sea: a fleet of AUV’s, several ROV’s, seafloor instrumentation platforms, towed measurement/detection systems & devices (sonars, geoacoustic systems, etc.), specialized calibration facilities.

During the course of the last few years, NURC has activated research programmes whereby technologies previously developed for military purposes have been adapted for undersea marine monitoring. Currently, many of the research topics studied at NURC have civilian applications, and the international research community cooperating with NURC is no longer restricted to the Military environment. In the past years there have been several examples of successful cooperation in dual-use (civilian/military) applications: a calibration facility which provides assistance to nearly all the Italian/southern European oceanographic research institutions; the design and implementation of advanced environmental monitoring systems (BARNY, SEEP, SEPTR, etc.), that currently are used by many research centers all over the world carry on their oceanographic studies; the SOLMAR project, started in 1999, that has gathered together international research institution to study the effect of anthropogenic noise on marine mammals. NURC maintains a strong reputation for bringing the best and brightest researchers together through rotational scientific staffing and through extensive partnering with NATO member nations.