Navy undersea warfare researchers ask 13 companies for prototypes in sensors, autonomous vehicles

April 18, 2022
The 13 companies will focus on submarines, surface warships, aircraft, surveillance, autonomous vehicles, distributed networks, and irregular warfare.

NEWPORT, R.I. – U.S. Navy undersea warfare experts are looking to 13 electronics companies to develop research prototype systems related to sensors, arrays, sonar, undersea warfare, and autonomous vehicles

Officials of the Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Division in Newport, R.I., awarded contracts to 13 companies last week for the Sensors and Sonar C15 Rapid Prototyping Development project. These companies will share $49 million.

These 13 companies will develop research prototypes for applications on submarines, surface warships, aircraft, surveillance, autonomous vehicles, distributed networks, submerged cables, and irregular warfare.

Related: Navy considers unmanned systems to attack enemy submarines

The 13 companies are:

-- Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. in McLean, Va.;

-- Advanced Systems/Supportability Engineering Technologies And Tools (ASSETT) Inc. in Manassas, Va.;

-- Cardinal Engineering LLC in Washington;

-- In-Depth Engineering Corp. in Fairfax, Va.;

-- L3Harris Technologies in Palm Bay, Fla.;

-- Leidos Inc. in Reston, Va.;

Related: Unmanned submarines seen as key to dominating the world’s oceans

-- QinetiQ North America in Waltham, Mass.;

-- Raytheon Technologies Corp. in Portsmouth, R.I.;

-- Sedna Digital Solutions LLC in Manassas, Va.;

-- Sonalysts Inc. in Waterford, Conn.;

-- Ultra Electronics Ocean Systems Inc. in Braintree, Mass.;

-- Venator Solutions LLC in San Diego; and

-- WPL Publishing in Rockville, Md.

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These research prototypes are to enable sensors, arrays, sonar, undersea warfare and autonomous vehicles to develop a sufficient understanding of alternative solutions considered deemed critical for improved performance, accelerated capability, or in response to an identified new enemy threat.

Prototypes will be for performance demonstrations, concept of operations development, maturing technology, refining requirements, and otherwise reducing the risk of current or anticipated capability gaps, Navy researchers say.

The 13 companies will pursue research prototypes in sensors, hydrophones, transducers and optical systems; arrays, networks and underwater communications; signal processing, algorithms, intelligent agents and electronics; mechanical systems, handling equipment, and cables; and polymers, coatings, and materials.

Sensors, hydrophones, transducers, and optical systems involves prototype sensors, hydrophones, transducers, and optical systems to reduce size, weight, cooling, and power consumption. Optical systems include lasers; optical sensors; photodetectors; high-speed cameras; pointing,tracking, and beam steering subsystems; fiber optics; mirrors; and lenses.

Related: Boeing to support large modular unmanned submarines

Arrays, networks, and underwater communications involves shipboard hull-mounted arrays, towed arrays and distributed networks to increase channel density and numbers; extend frequency ranges; improve reliability, accuracy, and manufacturability; reduce size, weight, cooling, and required power; supporting open architectures; reducing active source sizes; developing secure communications and clandestine operations; and information assurance.

The topic also includes developing underwater communication systems; navigation and range measurement systems; power and data services; and network connectivity.

Signal processing, algorithms, intelligent agents, and electronics involves signal processing strings; information processing algorithms; intelligent agents and electronics to improve detection, classification, localization and tracking of contacts; reducing false alarms; improving operations in cluttered environments; enhancing operator performance; unmanned operations; improving reliability and manufacturability; supporting open-systems architectures; supporting testing; reducing cooling requirements; and cyber security.

Related: Payload delivery systems for large unmanned submarines

Test and evaluation improvements involves embedded computing evaluation and reporting; real time analysis; improved visualization of test events; accurate reconstruction; off range reconstruction; data reduction; and post test analysis.

Prototypes will involve sensor electronics, hardware, software, and firmware. Sensor electronics will include amplifiers, energy storage, impedance matching electronics, transmit controllers, signal conversion, telemetry and hardware signal processing, data gathering, data storage, and real time playback.

Mechanical systems, handling equipment, and cables involves the launch, retrieval and stowage of sonar arrays, sensors, measurement devices, payloads, autonomous vehicles, towed bodies, and distributed networks.

Related: Enabling technologies for future unmanned undersea vehicles

Contractors seek to reduce size, weight, cooling, and required power; improve safety, reduce required manning, improve control, improve reliability and manufacturability and reduce total ownership cost.

Polymers, coating, and material involves specialized coatings and polymers to protect hardware from corrosion and biofouling, reduce water absorption and water permeability, exhibit acoustic properties such as acoustic transparency or acoustic damping, improve operations in harsh environments and exposure to fuels.

For more information contact the Naval Undersea Warfare Center-Newport online at

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