Leidos has been awarded a contract to its continue support for the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) distributed agile submarine hunter (DASH) programme.

Awarded to the company’s Maritime Operations division, the $14m agreement represents the fourth phase of a cost-plus-fixed-fee contract, and features a two-year performance period.

Under the contract, the company will provide research and development to support the transformational reliable acoustic-path system (TRAPS).

"TRAPS integrates unique Leidos insights into deep ocean sound propagation."

Specifically, the company will implement procedures for TRAPS nodes production, which will enable the US Navy to use the systems to support a broad range of acoustic surveillance missions.

TRAPS is the first of the two prototypes developed under the DASH programme, which aims to develop unmanned systems to sense quiet submarines from standoff distances.

Leidos Group president John Fratamico said: "TRAPS integrates unique Leidos insights into deep ocean sound propagation, innovative new sensor technologies and advanced signal processing approaches, to provide the navy with a flexible, cost-effective and high-performance system."

TRAPS is a fixed passive-sonar node designed to achieve large-area coverage by exploiting advantages of operating from the deep seafloor, and is claimed to offer major benefits to the navy’s distributed network system forward-deployed acoustic surveillance mission.

The expendable, low-size, weight and power node is communicated to a stationary surface node through wireless acoustic modems, with further secure radio frequency back to the performer’s facilities through satellites.

Developed by Bluefin Robotics, the second DASH prototype is a specialised unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV), known as a submarine hold at risk (SHARK), and is designed to provide a mobile active-sonar platform to track submarines following initial detections.

The UUV successfully conducted deep-dive testing in February 2013.

Defence Technology