Distributed Agile Submarine Hunting (DASH) program completes milestones

Apr 04, 2013
A prototype Submarine Hold at RisK (SHARK) unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) conducts deep-sea testing for DARPA’s Distributed Agile Submarine Hunting (DASH) program. The SHARK UUV is designed to provide a mobile active sonar platform to track submarines after initial detections are made.

DARPA's Distributed Agile Submarine Hunting (DASH) Program has tested two complementary prototype systems as part of its Phase 2 development effort. The prototypes demonstrated functional sonar, communications and mobility at deep depths. The successful tests furthered DASH's goals to apply advances in deep-ocean distributed sonar to help find and track quiet submarines.

The first prototype is the Transformational Reliable Acoustic Path System (TRAPS), developed by a team led by Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC). TRAPS is a fixed passive sonar node designed to achieve large-area coverage by exploiting advantages of operating from the deep . This expendable, low-size, weight and power (SWaP) node communicated to a stationary surface node via wireless acoustic modems, with further secure RF reach back to the performer's facilities via satellite.

"The goal is not only to show we can address the most challenging problem in ASW [anti-], but that we can do so with systems that are scalable and affordable," said Andy Coon, DARPA program manager. "A single node provides a field of view with significant coverage allowing for a limited number of nodes to scale to large areas. Within the trade space of sonar, we need to get creative to achieve affordable hardware and operations. We purposely have avoided increasing the size and complexity of arrays to achieve our aims. This is a gamble, but we believe the potential payoff will be high."

Bluefin Robotics image.

The second prototype is the Submarine Hold at RisK (SHARK), an unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) developed by a team led by Applied Physical Systems (APS). SHARK intends to provide a mobile active sonar platform to track submarines after initial detections are made. APS team member Bluefin Robotics recently deployed the prototype to depth in February 2013.

"Sending the prototype deep for the first time was like going to another planet and took nerve," Coon said. "I am very pleased with the team and the vehicle's performance at sea. We knew the design requirements of the system were challenging for industry to meet, especially when constrained to a price point that required designers to incorporate Commercial Off-the-Shelf (COTS) components not normally used at these depths."

A third DASH team member, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, supported the physical network layers that both teams used.

TRAPS and SHARK are scheduled to demonstrate their core sonar functionality together. Subsequent efforts may follow to realize multiple sonar nodes as well as the integration of the SHARK UUV with its .

Explore further: FAA's Airworthiness Directive issued to avoid power loss

Related Stories

Nanotech Speakers Hold Promise for Sonar Uses

Jun 14, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- UT Dallas researchers have found that carbon nanotube sheets perform well as underwater sound generators and noise-canceling speakers, two highly desirable traits for submarine sonar and stealth ...

Multibeam sonar can map undersea gas seeps

Oct 06, 2011

A technology commonly used to map the bottom of the deep ocean can also detect gas seeps in the water column with remarkably high fidelity, according to scientists from the University of New Hampshire and ...

Recommended for you

FAA's Airworthiness Directive issued to avoid power loss

May 02, 2015

A fix for a software problem that could possibly result in power loss in Boeing 787s has been ordered. Federal Aviation Administration officials adopted a new airworthiness directive (AD), effective as of ...

Recycling aluminium, one can at a time

May 01, 2015

Producing pure aluminium from ore accounts for as much as 1 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. Recycling is the best way to reduce that carbon footprint – but manufacturers and recycling ...

Bringing hypersonic flight closer to reality

May 01, 2015

Two University of Sydney aeronauticalengineering PhD researchers have been invited by the European Space Agency (ESA) to help realise the dream of travelling across the globe at 7 times the speed of sound.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.