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BAE Systems has secured a contract to design and deliver new technology that will enable US Navy submarines to detect and track other submarines from greater distances.

The new $4.6m contract was awarded by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and is part of its wider Mobile Offboard Clandestine Communications and Approach (MOCCA) programme.

DARPA’s MOCCA programme aims at minimising the risk of counter-detection, in addition to facilitating the detection of other submerged vessels at greater distances than those currently afforded by existing technologies.

The programme has been designed by DARPA with the aim of developing a breakthrough capability for extended-range submarine detection and precision target tracking via collaborative operations using unmanned vehicles and active sonar techniques.

"Advances in maritime technology are critical to the Department of Defense (DoD) and an area where the US military can continue to strengthen its advantage."

The MOCCA programme's Phase I will see researchers from BAE Systems design advanced sonar systems in order to help optimise the possible range of detection, as well as enhance target identification and tracking capabilities.

BAE Systems Maritime Systems and Technology director Geoff Edelson said: “Advances in maritime technology are critical to the Department of Defense (DoD) and an area where the US military can continue to strengthen its advantage.

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“With the resurgence of near-peer competitors and an increasing number of submarines, MOCCA technology will provide navy submariners with a vital asymmetrical advantage against a rapidly proliferating undersea threat.”

The research and development team at BAE Systems works in close collaboration with DARPA and other defence research institutes to design and deliver different capabilities, which are intended to enhance the competitive advantages of the US armed forces.

Image: BAE Systems researchers will design DARPA technology to allow navy submarines to detect and track other subs at greater distances. Photo: courtesy of BAE Systems.