SAIC has awarded a subcontract to Raytheon to deliver its fifth generation medium-frequency hull-mounted sonar system in support of the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) anti-submarine warfare (ASW) continuous trail unmanned vessel (ACTUV) programme.

Under the contract, Raytheon will develop and deliver the modular scalable sonar system (MS3) to serve as the primary search and detection device on SAIC’s wave-piercing trimaran vessel prototype.

Raytheon integrated defence systems business advanced technology vice president Joe Biondi said the MS3 can be configured to provide capabilities required for ASW in an autonomous environment.

Designed to provide capabilities such as search, detection, passive-threat filtering, localisation and tracking, the MS3 features simplified ethernet interfaces between displays, signal processing, power amplification and signal reception, as well as ship combat system for an integrated and modular solution.

"The MS3 can be configured to provide capabilities required for ASW in an autonomous environment."

In 2012, DARPA awarded a three-year $58m prime contract to SAIC to design, build and test the ACTUV prototype, which will be capable of tracking silent threats such as diesel-electric submarines.

The DARPA ACTUV programme aims to explore the performance potential of a surface platform and generate a vessel design that exceeds state-of-the art platform performance to provide complete propulsive overmatch against diesel electric submarines.

SAIC will support two and three phases of the unmanned autonomous surface vessel programme, which includes an 18-month $1m option for the fourth phase.

A final design and production plan for the ACTUV prototype will be prepared by the company under the programme’s second phase, with the operational unmanned vessel prototype then undergoing testing, scheduled for mid-2015.

Image: Illustration of DARPA’s ACTUV prototype tracking an enemy submarine. Photo: courtesy of DARPA.

Defence Technology