Anti-Submarine Warfare

The Anti-Submarine Warfare program’s goal is to develop system components, integrated systems, companion tactical decision aids and associated training capabilities to improve the Navy’s ability to conduct anti-submarine warfare (ASW). Components and systems can be composed of hardware, software or a combination of both. Training and tactical decision aids are usually software applied to a system or combination of systems operated in a coordinated manner. Applications include surveillance, search, detection, track and localization for attack. Systems can be deployed on or from individual platforms (surface, air, underwater, space). ASW operations can be carried out by individual platforms, groups of platforms (strike, etc.) and coordinated theater-level forces. The program is organized into the following thrusts:

New Concepts: Demonstration of the feasibility of a new ASW concept. Usually involves hardware or software just sufficient to demonstrate feasibility but not necessarily meeting all the requirements of an operational system.

Experimentation and Analysis: Experiment or analysis effort intended to accelerate emerging technologies and concept opportunities outside baseline-funded activities.

Technology Candidates: Preparation of components to form a system that could meet operational requirements, usually culminating in a technology readiness level (TRL) 5 demonstration of system functionality in the laboratory.

Future Naval Capabilities: Demonstration of a system or associated training or tactical decision aids, in a relevant (TRL 6) or operational (TRL 7) environment in partnership with OPNAV resource sponsors and acquisition program managers.

Innovative Naval Prototypes: Demonstration to the fleet, in a relevant environment, of a system or training or tactical decision aids that will significantly address anticipated naval needs.

Research Concentration Areas


  • Sensors that are uniquely suitable for ASW applications (and are not being developed by ONR code 32MS)
  • Power supplies for deployable unmanned systems such as sonobuoys, deep and shallow water distributed systems, or fixed systems. (These power supplies have different characteristics than those used for mobile unmanned systems.)
  • Telemetry for arrays of underwater sensors


  • Passive and active acoustic systems for deployment on surface ships, submarines, or unmanned vehicles
  • Sonobuoys from aircraft, surface ships and submarines as distributed systems
  • Acoustic systems fixed to the ocean floor
  • Associated signal processing will be incorporated through teaming with ONR code 32US

Training and Tactical Decision Aids

  • Algorithms to train operators in the use of specific ASW systems
  • Algorithms to aid in placement and operation of distributed ASW systems
  • Algorithms to aid in forming a tactical picture of the current ASW situation, assessing the situation in preparation for action, and planning effective action for individual and coordinated ASW assets

Research Challenges and Opportunities

The ASW Program has ongoing interest in the following technologies. New ideas for solutions in these areas will be considered at any time during the year.

Acoustic arrays that exploit the vertical features of acoustic noise in the ocean.

  • Methods of incorporating accelerometer-based acoustic vector sensors into arrays that do not reduce the sensitivity of the sensors yet shield them from noise sources
  • Affordable, low-power means of array element location in mid-frequency arrays with very large numbers of elements
  • Compact, high-energy density, safe batteries for unmanned distributed systems

In addition to these topics, we are beginning a Technology Candidate initiative in Noise Rejection Processing. The purpose of this 2.5-year project is to develop—and demonstrate in the laboratory—novel signal processing technologies that can enable Surveillance Towed Array Sonar Systems (SURTASS) to be effectively used on ships that have not been acoustically quieted for the mission. Techniques to be considered will include those that show promise of reducing or eliminating ship interference on all incident propagation paths, and in both deep and shallow water. White papers are requested for submission no later than close of business on Thursday, December 31, 2020.

Program Contact Information

Name: David H. Johnson

Title: Program Officer

Department: Code 32ASW

Email for Questions:

Name: Michael G. Vaccaro

Title: Program Officer

Department: Code 32ASW

Email for Questions:

How to Submit

For detailed application and submission information for this research topic, please see our Funding Opportunities page and refer to broad agency announcement (BAA) No. N00014-21-S-B001.

  • Contracts: All white papers and full proposals for contracts must be submitted through FedConnect; instructions are included in the BAA.
  • Grants: All white papers for grants must be submitted through FedConnect, and full proposals for grants must be submitted through; instructions are included in the BAA.

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