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Check Range Sensor Pod


OBJECTIVE: Provide the Navy submarine force the capability for a platform to check its signature condition when in a forward operating area by means of an autonomous reconfigurable sensor pod. DESCRIPTION: Navy submarine and surface ship signatures are measured at land-based silencing facilities located around the Continental United States (CONUS) and occasionally at allied partner facilities [1]. However, the signatures can degrade over time for a variety of reasons, potentially making the platform more vulnerable to detection. ONR is seeking a disposable sensor pod to autonomously assess signature levels for in-situ tactical awareness that can be deployed from a submerged submarine utilizing existing platform capabilities. The pod should be easily reconfigurable and be able to measure underwater magnetic, electric, and acoustic fields (or a subset of these). Each sensing modality should have sensitivity down to sea state 0 natural background noise levels, with a frequency range of 10-32 kHz for the acoustic subsystem and 0.001 3 kHz for the magnetic and electric subsystems [2],[3]. The pod should have the ability to accept and execute simple data processing algorithms, take measurements at a set depth down to 300 meters, transmit its position relative to the submarine within one meter, and send time-stamped data back to the platform for up to four hours in an underwater environment. The pod must be designed to self-scuttle by command or at end-of-life and ensure complete destruction of any data remaining on the pod. Multiple pods should be able to function simultaneously to enable the submarine to create a self-assembling measurement array in a forward operating area. PHASE I: Define the concept for a novel compact signature-assessment pod that can be deployed from a submarine in diverse ocean conditions. Like a sonobouy, the pod should be low-cost so that it is expendable allowing the naval platforms to check on their signature condition in forward patrol areas away from CONUS measurement ranges. Clearly describe the procedure to deploy the pod and receive the data. Identify obstacles in design and establish solutions to demonstrate feasibility. Identify cost drivers in the design and adherence to safety concerns such as onboard stowage and boat-pod encounter. Identify the key critical hardware and software components and if possible show feasibility for one or more of these components in a laboratory demonstration. PHASE II: Develop, demonstrate, and fabricate a prototype as identified in Phase I. Demonstrate the method of deployment with a non-functional mockup prototype. Construct several functional prototype pods that can demonstrate the Phase I performance goals for hardware and software by simultaneously performing measurements and relaying position relative to a signal source in a benign environment. Work with the Navy to create a test plan for at-sea validation of a notional signature-check range capability. PHASE III: Conduct the at-sea validation of a notional signature-check range capability. Verify manufacturing affordability to meet a cost target for expendability and transition to commercial low-rate production for Navy and private sector applications. PRIVATE SECTOR COMMERCIAL POTENTIAL/DUAL-USE APPLICATIONS: Possible commercial applications of this technology include oceanographic environmental sensing devices, underwater intrusion detection systems (detection of swimmers and Unmanned Underwater Vehicles), and harbor protection systems (measurements of underwater hull condition and attached objects). Environmental assessment industry, gas and petroleum exploration industries using sea based platforms, and port/harbor/wharf security protection industries should find this technology to be of potential use for monitoring the water space around their structures, or for surveys. REFERENCES: 1. Holmes, John. J. 2007."Modeling a Ship"s Ferromagnetic Signature."Morgan & Claypool Publishers. DOI: 10.2200/S00092ED1V01Y200706CEM016 2. Backus, George, Robert L. Parker, and Catherine Constable. 1996. Foundations of Geomagnetism. Cambridge University Press. 3. Urick, Robert J. 1996."Principles of Underwater Sound."Peninsula Pub. 4. Ripka, Pavel. 2001."Magnetic Sensors and Magnetometers."Artech House.
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