Coordinated, Layered Defense Capabilities of Multiple Torpedo Countermeasures
Navy SBIR 2020.1 - Topic N201-054
NAVSEA - Mr. Dean Putnam -
Opens: January 14, 2020 - Closes: February 12, 2020 (8:00 PM ET)


TITLE: Coordinated, Layered Defense Capabilities of Multiple Torpedo Countermeasures



ACQUISITION PROGRAM: PMS 415, Undersea Defensive Warfare Systems Program Office.

The technology within this topic is restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), 22 CFR Parts 120-130, which controls the export and import of defense-related material and services, including export of sensitive technical data, or the Export Administration Regulation (EAR), 15 CFR Parts 730-774, which controls dual use items. Offerors must disclose any proposed use of foreign nationals (FNs), their country(ies) of origin, the type of visa or work permit possessed, and the statement of work (SOW) tasks intended for accomplishment by the FN(s) in accordance with section 3.5 of the Announcement. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws.

OBJECTIVE: Develop a capability for acoustic torpedo countermeasures to coordinate focused layered defense strategies against incoming advanced threat torpedoes.

DESCRIPTION: All submarines are currently protected by 6-inch and 3-inch diameter expendable torpedo countermeasures that, upon launch, act autonomously and independently to thwart adversarial weapons. Adversarial weapons are becoming more and more sophisticated requiring the Fleet to develop smarter and more capable countermeasure devices. It is the intention of this effort to develop additional capabilities that can be incorporated into current and future torpedo countermeasures to provide increased platform protection. As such, the innovation sought by the execution of this effort is to develop the ability for multiple acoustic countermeasures to coordinate a layered defense against adversarial torpedoes. The countermeasures, which are based either on the existing three-inch diameter Acoustic Device Countermeasure (ADC) Mk 2 Mod 7 and/or the existing six-inch diameter ADC Mk 3 Mod 1, would have the ability to identify the incoming direction of a threat torpedo through an onboard receiver(s) or other devices/platforms in the engagement. Additionally, the solution will use its relative positions to provide spatial, temporal, and spectral defensive protection for the host platform. The ability to detect the threat, identify threat localization, and implement appropriate threat acoustic responses amongst a potentially highly cluttered acoustic environment will be evaluated. The specific acoustic response would be based on the existing acoustic modes of the current ADC, depending upon the chosen form factor for the design. The innovation challenges involved in this topic execution are twofold: first, coordination of the communication capabilities amongst multiple torpedo countermeasures and with the host submarine platform need to be robust in what is anticipated to be an acoustically cluttered environment; second, technology advancements are needed to provide this coordinated capability (on-board receiver and identify friend or foe (IFF) and communication logic) without driving significant increase (less than 25%) in unit cost and not significantly changing the form factor of the baseline device (either 6-inch diameter, 100-inch long, 120 pounds or 3-inch diameter, 39.5-inch long, 10 pounds). By providing these additional features, these advanced countermeasures will possess the ability to reduce the number of devices needed to thwart adversarial threats with a reduced number of devices, thus offsetting the anticipated increased unit cost per device. The Technical Point of Contact will provide Testing and evaluation criteria on an as needed basis.

Environmental stress testing will take place at facilities maintained by the Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Newport, Rhode Island. Initial baseline testing (acoustic and coordinated capabilities) will be the responsibility of the executing company, while any follow-on testing will be the responsibility of the Navy, with the company’s anticipated assistance. .

Work produced in Phase II may become classified. Note: The prospective contractor(s) must be U.S. Owned and Operated with no Foreign Influence as defined by DOD 5220.22-M, National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual, unless acceptable mitigating procedures can and have been be implemented and approved by the Defense Security Service (DSS). The selected contractor and/or subcontractor must be able to acquire and maintain a secret level facility and Personnel Security Clearances, in order to perform on advanced phases of this contract as set forth by DSS and NAVSEA in order to gain access to classified information pertaining to the national defense of the United States and its allies; this will be an inherent requirement. The selected company will be required to safeguard classified material IAW DoD 5220.22-M during the advance phases of this contract.

PHASE I: Develop an end-to-end design and implementation concept for a coordinated countermeasure using acoustic or non-acoustic technologies, including (1) receiver technologies and (2) on-board electronics that are powered by the same power supplies currently in use by the legacy devices: either thermal lithium like the ADC MK 2 MOD 7, or silver chloride seawater activated battery like the ADC MK 3 MOD 1 ,to provide the capability to identify incoming threat torpedoes and send the appropriate signals to the existing acoustic projector to thwart the threat.  Consider a device solution that is based on the existing legacy devices: ADC MK 2 MOD 7, and/or ADC MK 3 MOD 1.  Establish feasibility of the proposed concept. Evaluate the operational ability of the device design will be evaluated per the requirements in the Description. The Phase I Option, if exercised, will include the initial system specifications and capabilities description to build a prototype solution in Phase II.

PHASE II: Develop and build three to five prototype systems for testing and evaluation. Conduct evaluation and testing of the prototypes based on the anticipated inter-countermeasure and countermeasure from/to host platform communication links, which are expected to be simplistic, yet robust, and have the ability to avoid host-platform “beaconing.” Ensure that the specific acoustic response would be based on the existing acoustic modes of the current ADC Mk 2 Mod 7 and/or ADC Mk 3 Mod 1, depending upon the chosen form factor for the design. Evaluate the robustness of the communications technology. Subject the prototype devices to limited environmental testing and design risk reduction evaluations. Focus testing primarily on the evaluation of the communications implementation, with environmental stress testing, as noted in the Description, folded in to mitigate operational design risks. Develop a Phase III plan.

It is probable that the work under this effort will be classified under Phase II (see Description section for details).

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Support the Navy in transitioning the technology for Navy use. Deliver five to six follow-on prototypes (incorporating any lessons learned from the Phase II prototyping and testing efforts) and engineering support for full environmental testing. Conduct the following testing: storage temperature thermal cycling (-54°C to +71°C) testing;  shock testing (MIL-S-901D), hydrostatic testing to submarine operational depths, internal countermeasure launcher acceleration testing (via the Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Newport’s internal countermeasure launcher facility), and any additional evaluation testing for the newly developed communications technology, including, in-water acoustic testing in a demonstration on an instrumented Navy test range. (Note: Some of this testing may occur in Phase II if the Phase II prototype design is a mature representation of a potential low-rate initial production design.) Depending on platform availability, it is anticipated that some, or all, of the prototypes will be evaluated through real-world range operations with active torpedoes or with a host submarine. Ultimately, the primary focus within a Phase III effort will be on evaluating the ability of the devices to coordinate collectively for effective host platform protection, while showing resiliency against applicable environmental stressors.

Alternative naval applications include sonobuoys (launched on the surface whereas the intended innovation product is launched from submarines), training targets, and alternative acoustic devices launched from various platforms. Some commercial applications include marine mammal acoustic diversions and geological exploration.


1. Partan, J., Kurose, J. and Levine, B.N. ”A Survey of Practical Issues in Underwater Networks.” ACM Mobile Computing and Communications Review, v.11, No.4, Oct 2007, pp. 22-33.

2. Eren, F., Pe’eri, S., Thein, M., Rzhanov, Y., Celikkol, B. and Swift, M.R. “Position, Orientation and Velocity Detection of Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUVs) Using an Optical Detector Array.” Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute: Sensors, v.17(8), 2017.

3. Busquets, Javier, Busquets, Jose, Perles, A., Mercado, R., Saez, R., Serrano, J., Albentosa, F. and Gilabert, J. “Communication challenges for dual configuration of ASV and AUV in twinned coordinated navigation.” IEEE 2014 Oceans-St. John's, pp. 1-10.

4. Smith, S. M., and Ganesan, K. “Acoustic Communications with AUVs and Autonomous Oceanographic Sampling Network Development.” ONR-3220M/AOSN, Award# N00014-96-1-5030. Report Date: 1998.

5. Burdic, William S.  “Underwater Acoustic System Analysis.”  Prentice Hall: Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 1991.

KEYWORDS: Torpedo Defense; Acoustic countermeasure; External Countermeasure Launcher; Internal Countermeasure Launcher; Anti-submarine Warfare; Detection and Tracking