Applied Physical Sciences (APS) has awarded a Phase II subcontract to BLUEFIN Robotics to design and develop a new technology for the Deep Sea Operations (DSOP) technology and system development programme.

Sponsored by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the DSOP programme aims to achieve long-range detection and classification with long distance underwater communication systems and to introduce surveillance that operates at extreme ocean depths to detect submarines.

Under the contract, Bluefin Robotics will assist in developing configurable technology to meet the anti-submarine warfare (ASW) surveillance requirements over wide operationally relevant environments.

DARPA released a Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) in January 2010 for deep-ocean surveillance submarine warfare technologies involving sonar and non-acoustic sensors following a Phase 1a architecture studies, Phase Ib, Phase II, and Phase III of the DSOP programme.

Phase II emphasises at-sea demonstration of an effective DSOP sonar solution that can exceed the minimum thresholds for detecting and holding track of a submarine target while the Phase 3 is aimed to achieve the final goals of the programme.

During this phase, a system team will integrate a broad range of technology for energy, communications, planning tools, and Navy systems to demonstrate a compelling capability.

The systems will be capable of using the advantages of distributed nodes, operate with sensors or sources near the ocean bottom, adapt to mobility of surface assets or evolving threats and configure to a range of operations, environments and time scales.

Additional requirements include capable of managing energy to endure in extreme operating conditions of the ocean.

With APS as a prime contractor, the DSOP programme team involves Bluefin Robotics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, H. Schmidt Consulting, Scientific Systems Company, and General Dynamics.

The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific, San Diego, California US is the contracting activity.