Raytheon has delivered its fifth-generation hull-mounted modular scalable sonar system (MS3), developed for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) anti-submarine warfare continuous trail unmanned vessel (ACTUV) programme.

The ACTUV programme seeks to curb emerging national security threats affecting the US and friendly naval operations worldwide, amidst increasing numbers of silent diesel electric submarines being built and operated by enemy nations.

The multi-mission, multi-platform MS3 system is capable of performing active and passive search and tracking; incoming torpedo warning; and small-object avoidance for safer navigation.

"MS3 builds on a legacy of sonar expertise, integrating a host of capabilities in a single sonar system."

Developed under a subcontract from Leidos, the system’s sensor data is used in the anti-submarine warfare (ASW) mission to help build a common operating picture for ACTUV.

Raytheon MS3 will be integrated into Leidos’ trimaran for ACTUV, and is expected to deliver these capabilities in an autonomous operating environment.

"MS3 builds on a legacy of sonar expertise, integrating a host of capabilities in a single sonar system," said Paul Ferraro, vice-president of Advanced Technology for Raytheon’s Integrated Defense Systems business.

"MS3 will provide DARPA with exceptional performance, from detection to tracking, from an unmanned platform."

Featuring an open architecture, MS3 incorporates a streamlined inboard electronics suite and can support phased upgrades or new construction programmes.

The initial water-borne testing of an ACTUV prototype is scheduled to take place later this year.

In 2018, the ACTUV programme is expected to be transitioned to the US Navy for use in anti-submarine warfare.

Leidos’ ACTUV trimaran vessel is scheduled to be launched on the Columbia River this year, followed by sea trials in the following months.