Cost and complexity limit the number of ships and weapon systems the Navy can support in forward operating areas. This concentration of force structure is strained as the US is faced with greater and more capable threats over larger operating areas. The importance of operating below the water line becomes critical to gaining advantage in the maritime domain as the US anticipates our technological capability advantage on the surface and air will be diminished through capability or capacity stresses. The ocean offers the opportunity for concealment and vastness for distributed operations.
STR is leading the development of systems and technology to counter underwater threats (e.g., Anti-Submarine Warfare), and to create new advantages in the undersea. STR’s undersea and maritime system designs emphasize future distributed operations that address all remote sensing needs of energy, communications, sensing, and mobility, with connectivity across the domains of undersea, surface, air, and space. We prototype advanced underwater sensing and processing (e.g., sonar) integrated into unmanned platforms and distributed networks with a range of experienced partners to realize system-level concepts for the Navy.
The most pressing challenge in anti-submarine warfare (ASW) is to find a submarine over large open ocean areas and to engage or interdict the submarine in a timely manner. Legacy operations are conducted by manned platforms at significant expense and risk. With the emergence of unmanned systems above and below the waterline, opportunity exists to offset these risks. However scaling solutions to wide areas, managing the complexity of distributed operations across domains, and realizing coordination between manned and unmanned systems requires innovative solutions and strategies.
STR and its partners are conducting system studies and designs leading to prototyping and at-sea testing of unmanned distributed system concepts. We are exploring innovative uses of off-board sonars that integrate into ship and submarine systems that demonstrate the creative use of existing and completely new component technology.