Undersea Signal Processing

The program's goal is to develop signal processing algorithms that improve the Navy's ability to detect, identify and locate submarines in shallow and deep ocean environments. To this end, the Office of Naval Research funds basic and applied research projects at universities, federal laboratories and industry. The program is organized into the following technical thrusts:

  • Active sonar signal processing: Projects focus on active sonar systems for wide area surveillance, distributed search and battle-group defense.
  • Passive sonar signal processing: Projects focus on signal processing algorithms that detect, classify and locate modern diesel-electric submarines at tactically useful ranges.
  • Fundamental research initiatives: This program supports basic research in statistical and ocean acoustic signal processing projects conducted at universities throughout North America.

Research Concentration Areas

The Undersea Signal Processing projects aim to improve the Navy’s ability to conduct anti-submarine warfare by exploiting active and passive acoustics. Signal processing technology of special interest is detailed below.

  • Active Sonar Signal Processing Discovery and Invention Program
    • Novel feature extraction techniques for clutter type classification and target/clutter discrimination for pulsed or high duty cycle systems.
    • High duty cycle sonar systems; improved localization performance; direct blast mitigation
    • Exploitation of context to improve detection, classification and localization performance.
    • The Active Sonar Signal Processing Program may also support a few one year projects in Fiscal Year 2019 that are at a higher technical risk than those typically executed under the program.
    • These projects would be a quick-look at new or unconventional signal processing approaches applied to active sonar for anti-submarine warfare.
    • The goal of the project would be to demonstrate potential detection, classification and localization improvement that could justify continued development under the program.
  • Passive Sonar Signal Processing Discovery and Invention Program
    • Basic research in statistical signal processing
    • Basic and applied research in machine learning theory accounting for the unique challenges of sonar signal processing
    • Of particular interest are new features and reduced algorithm complexity with high detection probabilities and low false alarm rates
    • Optimal combination of information produced by disparate sensors, integration times, bandwidths, and ranges
    • Computationally efficient implementation of signal processing algorithms
    • Tools to assist operators search and manage large acoustic databases and streaming data
    • Long-term association, classification, tracking and localization of intermittent contacts

Research Challenges and Opportunities

  • Basic research advancing the state-of-the-art of modern detection and estimation theory.
  • Basic research in emerging topics in signal processing.
  • Recent examples include co-prime sampling theory, signal processing on graphs, and cognitive sonar concepts.
  • Projects in emerging topics are low-level efforts exploring the potential Navy value of new classes of algorithms – not large projects aimed at demonstrating proof-of-concept with operational data.
  • Large volume search space management tools, including both streaming data from multiple sensors and databases.
  • Advancements in multi-sensor contact association, including exploitation of external information sources, automatic detection and correction of incorrect associations, theoretical performance bounds, and methods that leverage existing classifiers, tracker and association capabilities.
  • Computationally efficient implementations that reduce processing hardware and memory footprints.

Call for FY 2019 Planning Letters

Our annual call for Planning Letters has been updated and can be found here.

Type of Funding Available

  • Basic Research
  • Applied Research

Program Contact Information

Name: Dr. John Tague

Title: Program Officer

Department: Code 321

Email for Questions: john.a.tague@navy.mil


How to Submit

Submit white papers, QUAD charts and full proposals for contracts to this email address: ONR Code 32 Research Submissions

Follow instructions within BAA for submission of grant proposals to grants.gov website.

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