RTI Product Development: Sensor Hardware

AAC's sensors include Hull and Towed Acoustic Intercept Arrays (ACI) based on Sparsely Populated Volumetric Array (SPVA) technology and a Compact Variable Depth Sonar (CVDS). The acoustic intercept arrays are mounted on the hull of a ship and towed behind the ship to provide 360 degrees of coverage for passive detection, classification and localization of torpedoes. The Compact Variable Depth Sonar is a high powered active source that is cued by passive detections to classify and localize torpedoes while reducing false alarms and providing refined salvo discrimination capability.

Radar fusion is used to distinguish between surface and subsurface contacts and reduce false alarms.

  • SPVA:
  • The Sparsely Populated Volumetric Array (SPVA) is part of AAC’s suite of passive acoustic underwater threat detection and localization sensor arrays which AAC is under contract to provide to the U.S. Navy submarine fleet and AEGIS destroyer fleet. The extremely compact SPVA passive acoustic sensor array provides the ship a self-defense capability against torpedoes and other acoustic threats. This sensor has also been tested and shown to be effective as a harbor, bottom-mounted passive acoustic array, capable of detecting and tracking ship traffic, underwater vehicles and divers. The SPVA is the first and only Navy sensor whose interface telemetry is standards-compliant Gigabit Ethernet, and is completely configurable via web browser. The SPVA sensor can be interfaced to use any commercial Gigabit Ethernet switch, and PC. No custom software is required to acquire data, record data or configure the sensor. A signal analysis software suite is downloadable directly from the sensor and can be installed on a Windows PC, suitable for real-time signal analysis. AAC has achieved ISO 9001:2000 certification for design and production manufacture of these sensors.

  • TACI:
  • The Towed Acoustic Intercept Array (TACI) is the towed version of the SPVA volumetric array. This version is designed for a form-factor of a 3.5 inch cylinder, suitable for towing behind a surface ship or submarine. The TACI provides the same passive acoustic threat detection and tracking capability as the SPVA, except in a towed form factor. The telemetry interface, like the SPVA, is also standards-compliant Gigabit Ethernet.

  • AACI:
  • The Advanced Acoustic Intercept Array (AACI) is a larger, more capable towed volumetric array. A larger version of the SPVA and TACI, this array has more than twice the detection range of the smaller volumetric arrays. The AACI has been built and tested at sea, and found to outperform initial performance estimates. The AACI can be buoy-mounted, towed independently, or integrated in the aft section of a variable-depth automated control steering system, which also incorporates an active array section.

  • Wireless Telemetry:
  • The development and expansion of wireless technology, or “Wi-Fi” technology, has enabled the commercial market to develop low cost products for the consumer marketplace. The wireless broadband industry has developed the Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMax) as an industry-standard, long range, broadband solution. WiMax technology, coupled with AAC’s torpedo defense system, will provide the battle group with the real time networking of Torpedo Detection Classification and Localization (TDCL) systems across multiple platforms. AAC and Montana State University have collaborated and successfully demonstrated that the WiMax wireless technology can meet the requirements for long range, high-speed communication between battle group ships. Continued development of this technology is providing DoD with an affordable “Integrated Multi-Platform Sonar System” network solution that corresponds well with the Navy’s open architecture goals while adhering to military and commercial standards including compliance with the Global Information Grid (GIG). The technology insertion plan for the TDCL system provides a path for adding an effective local TDCL network capability for meeting current and future threats.