Sri Lanka plans remote aerial, underwater marine research

Dec 27, 2011 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s marine researchers are planning to use aerial and underwater unmanned vehicles with remote sensing technology to study the oceans around the country, officials said. Sri Lanka’s National Aquatic Research Agency (NARA) wants to team up with the island’s air force to use unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for marine search.

“They have experience from the war, which matches with the research needs,” NARA chairman Hiran Jayewardene said.

Sri Lanka’s military used UAVs extensively in a war with Tamil Tiger separatists which ended in May 2009.

Jayewardene, a marine researcher with international experience was invited back to head NARA, which was set up 30 years ago with his participation by the island’s current fisheries minister Rajitha Senaratne.

Jayewardene helped develop methods now used to demarcate ocean bed allocations by the United Nations at the time he was a doctoral student at Cambridge University, Senaratne said.

NARA researchers are also in talks with the French oceanographic and geophysical research unit to collaborate on the use of underwater gliders for marine research.

“These gliders can be pre-programmed to go on a path, colle