RAPVLA: Tracking Stealth Submarines in Deep Water
Submarines with improving stealth and attack capability – particularly modern diesel attack submarines – are proliferating worldwide. Locating these relatively inexpensive but extremely quiet boats presents a challenge to the US Navy, then Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Mullen warned Congress in 2007 testimony [pdf].
To counter this threat, the Navy is investigating a distributed and netted approach to anti-submarine warfare (ASW). Among the ASW programs the Navy is considering is the Reliable Acoustic Path Vertical Line Array (RAPVLA). The RAPVLA is a deep water, bottom-mounted, high-grain sensor system that can automatically detect, classify, localize, track and report contacts of interest, such as stealth submarines.
Lockheed Martin recently received a $7 million order for applied research in support of the RAPVLA program…
In recent years, the Navy has researched the utility of deep water acoustic sensing technologies that exploit the deep water reliable acoustic path (RAP) using vertical line arrays (VLAs).
The first RAPVLA array was large and deployed over the side of a research vessel. The measured acoustic signals were routed to a central node that served as a data recorder.
The Navy is investigating development of RAPVLA systems that are smaller and deployed from tactical naval platforms using sonobuoys, torpedoes and other existing methods.
Moreover, the Navy is examining future arrays that operate autonomously with persistence to support ASW applications. Data from the arrays would be transmitted to surface ships using acoustic modems or similar technology.
The long-term goal of the Navy’s ASW strategy [pdf] is to have all sensors, platforms, and weapons systems linked through the FORCEnet distributed network system (DNS).
To develop and test RAPVLA technology, the Naval Sea System Command awarded in May 2009 a $10 million contract to Lockheed Martin Information Systems & Global Services in San Diego, CA.
Contracts and Key Events
Feb 17/10: Lockheed Martin Information Systems & Global Services in San Diego, CA received a $7 million modification to a previously awarded contract (N00024-09-C-5215) for applied research in support of RAP VLA sensor systems for distributed network systems (DNS).
Work will be performed in Arlington, VA (40%); Riviera Beach, FL (30%); Greensboro, NC (25%); and Groton, CT (5%). Work is expected to be complete by April 2011. The Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, DC manages the contract.
May 13/09: Lockheed Martin Information Systems & Global Services in San Diego, CA won a $10 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for advanced development, engineering, and testing efforts in support of RAPRLA sensor systems for DNS.
Work will be performed in Arlington, VA (40%); Riviera Beach, FL (30%); Greensboro, NC (25%); Groton, CT (5%), and is expected to be complete by September 2010. This contract was competitively procured as a result of a broad agency announcement with proposals solicited and offers received via FedBizOpps. The Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, DC manages the contract (N00024-09-C-5215).