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DARPA's DASH programme completes milestones


A prototype SHARK unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) conducts deep-sea testing for DARPA's DASH programme. A DARPA photo.

WASHINGTON (BNS): The US defence research agency DARPA's DASH Programme has tested two complementary prototype systems as part of its Phase 2 development effort.

The Distributed Agile Submarine Hunting prototypes demonstrated functional sonar, communications and mobility at deep depths, DARPA said.

The first prototype is the Transformational Reliable Acoustic Path System (TRAPS), developed by a team led by Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC).

TRAPS is a fixed passive sonar node designed to achieve large-area coverage by exploiting advantages of operating from the deep seafloor.

This expendable, low-size, weight and power (SWaP) node communicated to a stationary surface node via wireless acoustic modems, with further secure RF reach back to the performer's facilities via satellite.

"The goal is not only to show we can address the most challenging problem in ASW (anti-submarine warfare), but that we can do so with systems that are scalable and affordable," Andy Coon, DARPA programme manager was quoted as saying.

"A single deep sea node provides a field of view with significant coverage allowing for a limited number of nodes to scale to large areas. Within the trade space of deep ocean sonar, we need to get creative to achieve affordable hardware and operations. We purposely have avoided increasing the size and complexity of arrays to achieve our aims. This is a gamble, but we believe the potential payoff will be high."

The second prototype is the Submarine Hold at RisK (SHARK), an unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) developed by a team led by Applied Physical Systems (APS).

SHARK intends to provide a mobile active sonar platform to track submarines after initial detections are made. APS team member Bluefin Robotics recently deployed the prototype to depth in February 2013.

TRAPS and SHARK are scheduled to demonstrate their core sonar functionality together.

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DARPA  DASH  Submarine  

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