Lockheed Martin builds towed-array sonar to detect quiet diesel- and nuclear-powered submarines
SAN DIEGO, 10 Sept. 2015. Undersea surveillance experts at Lockheed Martin Corp. will provide twin-line towed-array sonar systems to the U.S. Navy and the government of Japan with the capability to detect quiet diesel- and nuclear-powered submarines.
Officials of the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) in San Diego, awarded a $25.1 million contract last week to the Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Training segment in Liverpool, N.Y., for two Japanese auxiliary oceanographic surveillance twin line (TL) towed array systems, a U.S. TL-29A spare array, a towed array conversion, and related engineering services.
These twin-line towed-array sonar systems are to support the Naval Sea Systems Command's Maritime Surveillance Systems Program Office, Program Executive Office Submarines. The contract has options that could increase its value to $71.1 million.
The twin-line 29A array (TL-29A) is a passive, low-frequency sensor system towed by the T-AGOS surveillance ship. Each array comprises a chain of acoustic, telemetry, and interface modules linked together in an integrated system.
The TL-29A's passive acoustic and signal-processing technologies can hear submarines at long range and in various sea states. The towed-array sonar is designed particularly to detect and track the new generation of extremely quiet diesel electric submarines operated by foreign navies.
The TL-29A sonar is configured as a pair of mile-long arrays that are towed side-by-side from an electro-optic tow cable attached to a winch on the deck of the host surface ship.
Two critical advantages of the TL-29A in the current threat environment are its endurance and ability to be towed in the shallow waters of the littoral zones in coastal waters and in harbors.
As a passive sensor, TL-29A does not generate a signal but uses sensitive hydrophones to listen for the faint sounds emitted by extremely quiet diesel electric submarines.
The TL-29A, along with its submarine-mounted cousin, the TB-29A, is the first array to use an advanced telemetry called towed array integrated product team (TAIPT). The TAIPT is a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS)-based telemetry architecture.
On this contract Lockheed Martin will do the work in Syracuse, N.Y., and should be finished by August 2017. If the Navy exercises all options, work could extend to September 2019. The job is split between the government of Japan and the U.S. Navy.