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Advanced Acoustic Hailing


OUSD (R&E) CRITICAL TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Integrated Network Systems-of-Systems; Integrated Sensing and Cyber


OBJECTIVE: Identify and develop advanced acoustic hailing systems to provide a highly effective alternative for embarked security teams that encounter non-responsive boats and craft.


DESCRIPTION: Acoustic Hailing systems are prevalent in the security industry, especially with law enforcement and Commercial Cargo Ships. However, marinized capabilities scaled for U.S. Navy boats and combatant craft do not currently satisfy size/weight requirements; small craft have limited weight, space, and power which require systems to fit within the load bearing capabilities of 34 to 40 foot craft.

The Navy seeks to develop an Acoustic Hailing system that has utility in operation of 34 ft, 40 ft and similar U.S. Navy boats and combatant craft. Proposed deterrent systems will be required to keep a steady low angle beam on target from a distance up to 1000 meters and be effective within all environments, conditions, and regions that Expeditionary boats and craft operate. A successful deterrent system would allow embarked security teams to have a concept of operations that does not require that they enter an approaching craft’s threat zone, reducing the risk to personnel on both sides by providing an annoying and clearly audible deterrent sound out to 1,000 meters in open water. A marinized Acoustic Hailing system will complement the operational profile of small boats/craft, which can include extreme environmental conditions in which the U.S. Navy operates.


Intelligibility criteria for the Acoustic Hailing voice communication should be minimally at the normal acceptable intelligibility, i.e., about 98% of sentences are correctly heard with single digits understood. The modified rhyme test, phonetically balanced word test and articulation index/speech transmission index are incorporated in the intelligibility criteria.


PHASE I: Develop a concept for a marinized advanced acoustic hailing system for a relevant vessel similar to a U.S. Navy 34 to 40 foot Patrol Boat that meets the requirements in the Description. Demonstrate the feasibility of the operational concept via physics-based modeling and simulation. Define the proposed components of the system hull, mechanical and electrical interfaces, to include power sources as well as any additional functioning design concepts of the system. Provide a preliminary concept design and an associated component validation plan. The Phase I Option, if exercised, will include the initial design specifications and capabilities description to build a prototype solution in Phase II.


PHASE II: Develop and deliver a prototype Acoustic Hailing system capable of being integrated with a U.S. Navy 34 to 40 foot Patrol Boat. Evaluate the prototype to determine its capability in meeting the performance goals defined in the Phase II SOW and the Navy requirements for the 34 to 40 foot Patrol Boats. Demonstrate system performance through prototype evaluation and testing, modeling, and analysis. Evaluate results and accordingly refine the deterrent system concept. Ensure that the prototyped hardware clearly shows a path to development of a marinized system. The prototype model is to be made available for Government demonstration or testing, as required. Prepare a Phase III development plan to transition the technology to Navy use.


PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Support the Navy in transitioning the fully hardened Acoustic Hailing system for Navy use to include demonstration/sea trials on a relevant vessel. Support for participation in fleet demonstration is aimed at transition with the intent to purchase and integrate the system into the U.S. Navy Patrol Boat Fleet.

A deterrent system of this type should benefit any number of working craft in the fishing, oil, or research industries operating in open water or contested environments.



  1. “Acoustic Hailing Device (AHD) SBIR requirements”
  2. Barrett, Benjamin K, LCDR USN, Naval War College Department of Joint Military Operations, “The Utility of Non-Lethal Weapons in Large-Scale Conflict”, 8 Feb 2000,
  3. Allison, Graham T., Paul X. Kelley, and Richard L. Garwin, “Nonlethal Weapons and Capabilities”, Report of an Independent Task Force, Sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations, New York: Council on Foreign Relations, February 2004. As of October 4, 2021:


KEYWORDS: Intelligibility; Acoustic Hailing; U.S. Navy 34 to 40 foot Patrol Boat; Force Protection; Distributed Maritime Operations; Contested Environment

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