BAE Systems has been contracted by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop an undersea navigation system that enables the US Navy to provide improved and precise global positioning across ocean basins.

The contract will support Positioning System for Deep Ocean Navigation (POSYDON), a programme to enable undersea vehicles to navigate accurately under the water.

This programme intends to replace the existing navigational methods that may cause detection risk for undersea vehicles that have to peridocally emerge to ocean surface to access the space-based global positioning system (GPS), which does not sufficiently penetrate seawater.

"We will use this same technology to revolutionise undersea navigation for the POSYDON programme."

Access to GPS above water may also be interrupted due to hostile signal jamming.

BAE Systems-led team will develop a positioning, navigation, and timing system that enables vehicles to remain submerged while using multiple, integrated, long-range acoustic sources at fixed locations across the oceans.

BAE Systems sensor processing and exploitation director Joshua Niedzwiecki said: "We will use this same technology to revolutionise undersea navigation for the POSYDON programme, by selecting and demonstrating acoustic underwater GPS sources and corresponding small-form factor receivers."

This programme will also see development of vehicle instrumentation to capture and process acoustic signals to aid in accurate navigation.

The company will capitalise on its expertise and capabilities in signal processing, acoustic communications, interference cancellation, and anti-jamming / anti-spoof technologies for the programme.

Besides BAE Systems, POSYDON team will be comprised of the University of Washington, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of Texas at Austin.

Image: BAE Systems to develop undersea navigation system.