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Penn State Researchers to Help Navy Update Sonar Tech

2 mins read
Undersea Warfare
Undersea Warfare

Two U.S. Navy organizations and the Pennsylvania State University’s research arm have teamed up to modernize undersea sensors that help provide situational awareness to the military branch’s ships and submarines.

Penn State Applied Research Laboratory will work with the Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division and the Naval Undersea Warfare Center Newport Division as the service looks to address acoustic technology requirements, Naval Sea Systems Command said Thursday.

David Bartlett, NSWC Crane’s chief engineer for undersea sensors, pointed out that commercial advancements do not exactly fit the Navy’s demands given that the military service’s needs are larger in scale than any other commercial market and the sound energy it uses is greater than what any other industry member operates with.

He noted the branch seeks to build on science and technology developments funded through the Future Naval Capabilities program and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

The Department of Defense unveiled in December 2020 a tri-service maritime strategy, called Advantage at Sea, that envisions an all-domain naval power through the integration of complementary systems across the Navy, Marine Corps and the Coast Guard.

Bartlett said the Navy needs sonar technology to stay ahead of foreign adversaries who are working on hard-to-detect platforms.

The branch is testing the TR-343 transducer, a component of a larger sonar system that supports the AN/SQQ-89(V) undersea warfare combat platform for surface ships.

Penn State ARL provides national security research and development services to the Navy under a 10-year, $2.1 billion contract awarded in 2018.