New DARPA detection technology progresses

April 4, 2013 at 11:14 AM
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WASHINGTON, April 4 (UPI) -- U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency efforts to develop deep ocean sonar technology for tracking quiet submarines are progressing.

Two complementary prototype systems -- part of DARPA's Phase 2 development effort in the Distributed Agile Submarine Hunting program -- have demonstrated functional sonar, communications and mobility at deep depths in recent tests, it said.

The first prototype is the Transformational Reliable Acoustic Path System developed by a team led by Science Applications International Corp. It is a fixed passive sonar node for large-area coverage and operates from the deep seafloor.

The second is the Submarine Hold at RisK, an unmanned underwater vehicle to provide a mobile active sonar platform to track submarines after initial detections are made.

SHARK was developed by a team led by Applied Physical Systems and was deployed at depth by Bluefin Robotics recently deployed the prototype to depth in February.

DARPA said the prototypes are scheduled to demonstrate their core sonar functionality together and that subsequent development efforts will follow, including using multiple sonar nodes with TRAP and integrating the SHARK with its sonar.

"The goal is not only to show we can address the most challenging problem in ASW [anti-submarine warfare], but that we can do so with systems that are scalable and affordable," said Andy Coon, DARPA program manager.

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