Chesapeake Continues Work on TB-33 Sumarine Towed Arrays
In underwater warfare, sound is life. The side that hears first often wins, and one of the tools used to help improve the odds is the towed array, a set of listening devices on a wire that helps to eliminate an natural acoustic “deaf spot,” and gives its submarine a longer baseline and more sensors to listen with.
U.S. Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, DC ordered two TB-33 fiber optic thin-line towed-array submarine sonar systems from manufacturer Chesapeake Science Corp. in Millersville, MD, under a $15.3 million cost-plus-fixed-fee, firm-fixed-price contract for the continued development of the TB-33/BQ Fiber Optic Thin-Line Sensor System. The contract also calls for Chesapeake to provide training, test equipment, and 3D mock-up devices. Work will be performed in Greensboro, NC (48%), Stonington, CT (27%), and Millersville, MD (25%) and is expected to be complete by September 2009.This contract was not competitively procured.
Engineers at Chesapeake are developing the TB-33 array to provide the same capability as the existing thin-line TB-29 array, but with significantly improved reliability. The TB-29 is a thin line towed array for SSN-688 Los Angeles and SSN-774 Virginia Class attack submarines that reportedly offers greater use of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) parts, increased acoustic performance and improved combat control capabilities, while replacing obsolete equipment in earlier arrays. The TB-29 is also longer than the previous thin-line TB-23, and has a sensor-location system.