Michigan company makes surveillance buoy for DARPA

JACKSON, Mich., 11 May 2005. SeaLandAire Technologies, Inc. has obtained a $1.6 million Phase I award from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop a Persistent Ocean Surveillance system.

JACKSON, Mich., 11 May 2005. SeaLandAire Technologies, Inc. has obtained a $1.6 million Phase I award from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop a Persistent Ocean Surveillance system.

SeaLandAire will develop an innovative, stationary, energy-harvesting buoy that performs long-term acoustic surveillance.

SeaLandAire's expertise in designing and developing air, land, sea and undersea sensor systems make them a perfect match for this project. The company has an in-depth understanding of sonobuoys and related undersea sensor systems, with direct experience in developing free-floating and moored sensor systems, performing detailed analysis of sensors in ocean environments, and compensating for self-noise created by hydrophone sensors exposed to ocean currents and wave motion.

The company will lead a team including the University of Michigan Marine Hydrodynamic Laboratory, and Jackson-area companies McCleer Power, McGilvra Engineering, and Impact Engineering

The University of Michigan research group will support the development of a high-fidelity performance simulation of the buoy, and will participate mainly in hydrodynamic analysis and testing. McCleer Power will provide unique experience in development of special high-efficiency DC motors and generators used in the sensor system, while McGilvra Engineering and Impact Engineering will contribute to various buoy control systems.

In a separate grant from the Department of Defense, SeaLandAire has also received an $80,000 Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract to develop a mission-adaptable covert air-deployable surveillance system capable of operating in diverse environments. Such a system could significantly increase battlespace awareness, yield early detection of threats and reduce battlefield casualties.

"The technology we're developing for this project has potential application for homeland security, anti-drug operations, critical asset protection and traditional military operations," said David Sparks, president of SeaLandAire.

For that project, SeaLandAire has partnered with Undersea Sensor Systems, Inc. (an Ultra Electronics company based in Columbia City, Ind.) and Navmar Applied Sciences Corp. (headquartered in Chester, Pa.).

"We're always looking for creative ways to collaborate with engineering and manufacturing companies on projects," Sparks said.

"This is the first time that I'm aware of that one of our small high-tech companies has received a DARPA contract," said Bill Rayl, executive director of the Jackson Area Manufacturers Association (JAMA).

"JAMA will work with SeaLandAire to help them form more of these collaborations with local firms. SeaLandAire's collaborative approach to going after new business and strong interest in and commitment to working with other Michigan companies is a model that we plan to follow in our efforts to help position Jackson County and South-central Michigan as a hub for high-tech engineering, prototyping, pilot manufacturing and testing."

For more information, see www.sealandaire.com.

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