The US Navy has awarded an up-to-$29.9m contract to Lockheed Martin for the production of five TB-29A thin line towed arrays (TLTAs), passive underwater acoustic sensors attached by tow cables to surface ships and submarines.

The TB-29A towed array technology will create a longer baseline than other underwater sensors and will provide enhanced detection capabilities and improved supportability due to commonality throughout the fleet.

Coupled with the submarine A-RCI sonar system the TB-29A arrays are expected to provide a 400-500% increase in detection capability against quiet submerged platforms in blue-water as well as shallow-water areas.

The TB-29A arrays will be used for back-fit on the navy’s Los Angeles Class submarines and forward-fit on the Virginia Class submarines.

The arrays will also be used for the SURTASS (surveillance towed array sensor system) twin-line towed array system.

Recently these towed arrays were tested with SURTASS ships which resulted in the successfull support of the IUSS (integrated undersea surveillance system) community.

Work will be carried out at several locations across the US and is expected to be complete by 2011.