Lockheed Martin to make COTS upgrades to submarine sonars in $29.4 million contract

Posted by John Keller

WASHINGTON, 10 June 2013. Submarine sonar experts at the Lockheed Martin Corp. Mission Systems and Training segment in Manassas, Va., will upgrade submarine signal processing equipment on the U.S. Navy submarine fleet with commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) computers under terms of a $29.4 million contract modification announced Friday.

Officials of the Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington are asking Lockheed Martin to produce COTS-based sonar signal processing equipment as part of the 2013 Acoustics-Rapid COTS Insertion (A-RCI) production program.

A-RCI is a longtime sonar system that integrates and improves towed array, hull array, sphere array, and other ship sensor processing, through rapid insertion of COTS based hardware and software.

For the past 16 years Lockheed Martin sonar experts have been harvesting the most advanced and most promising COTS digital signal processing (DSP) equipment -- from embedded servers, field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), to powerful general-purpose processors) -- to achieve the most advanced submarine sonar signal processing at the most reasonable cost.

The A-RCI program is among the most visible U.S. military acknowledgements that COTS technology delivers the most capability at the least cost for defense-related embedded digital signal processing technology.

The A-RCI program, as its name suggests, seeks to move the latest COTS DSP technology into submarine signal processing systems aboard Virginia-, Seawolf-, and Los Angeles-class fast attack submarines, as well as aboard Ohio-class missile submarines on a regular basis to keep pace with commercial embedded computing developments.

A-RCI is an open architecture sonar system that Navy officials intend to maintain an advantage in acoustic detection of threat submarines, using legacy sonar sensors. The program regularly refreshes central processors with COTS computer technology and software. A-RCI processors handle data from the submarine’s spherical array, hull array, wide aperture array, high-frequency arrays, and towed arrays.

An open-systems architecture makes the most of commercial processing development, and enables submarine signal processing systems to use complex algorithms Navy-developed sonar systems such as the AN/BSY-1 and AN/BSY-2 systems could not use.

Using COTS technology enables onboard computing power to grow at nearly the same rate as commercial industry, and facilitates regular updates to submarine sonar-processing software and hardware with minimal disruption to submarine scheduling, Navy officials say.

On this contract modification Lockheed Martin will do the work in Manassas, Va. and Clearwater, Fla., and should be finished by this December.

For more information contact Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Training online at www.lockheedmartin.com, or Naval Sea Systems Command at www.navsea.navy.mil.

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