Advanced Sonar Makes Quick Transition into Mine Reconnaissance System

Arlington, VA -- The Unmanned Undersea Vehicle office at the Naval Sea Systems Command has announced the rapid transition of synthetic aperture sonar (SAS) into the Long Term Mine Reconnaissance System (LMRS). The Office of Naval Research's Commercial Technology Transition Office made possible the transition of SAS into the LMRS, an unmanned undersea vehicle that will enable submarines to extend their mine reconnaissance reach.

SAS, like its above-water counterpart synthetic aperture radar, uses a relatively small antenna to mimic a much larger one. The system is incorporated into a moving vehicle such as the LMRS so that it can bounce sound waves off of the sea floor, one small patch at a time. Onboard processors combine these individual glimpses to create a larger image of the area surveyed. The LMRS will be launched and recovered by submerged submarines and will seek mine-like objects on the sea floor or tethered just a few feet above it.

SAS demonstrated four times the range and 36 times the resolution of traditional side-looking sonar, which was included in the original LMRS design. The CTTO brokered a rapid technology transition Memorandum of Agreement to instead incorporate SAS into the LMRS. The CTTO built the business case, including the funding strategy, to mature the technology and enable Northrup Grumman—designers of the SAS—to work with the Boeing Company—makers of the LMRS—to integrate the new sonar into the vehicle.

The CTTO seeks technologies from multiple sources including the public and private sectors, both domestic and foreign, to rapidly and responsively insert mature technologies into ongoing naval programs. The CTTO continuously explores new business practices to get the right technology to the right warfighter at the right time.

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