Revolutionized Undersea Training Target Motors

Navy SBIR 23.1 - Topic N231-046
NAVSEA - Naval Sea Systems Command
Pre-release 1/11/23   Opens to accept proposals 2/08/23   Closes 3/08/23 12:00pm ET

N231-046 TITLE: Revolutionized Undersea Training Target Motors

OUSD (R&E) CRITICAL TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): General Warfighting Requirements (GWR)

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 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: Modernize, innovate, and improve the efficiency of the MK39 Expendable Mobile Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Training Target (EMATT) motor that leverages the advancements in printed circuit board (PCB) stators, as well as the reduction in space, noise, and weight of the motor enabling additional capabilities of the EMATT.

DESCRIPTION: The MK39 EMATT is the US Navy’s low cost, expendable, training target which simulates the acoustic and dynamic characteristics of submarines and is used as a versatile alternative to real submarines for training US Navy Fleet sonar operators. The EMATT is an ‘A’ size 4.875 inch diameter vehicle that fits into a Sonobuoy Launch Container (SLC), is 3 feet long, and weighs 21 lbs. It is powered by a Li SO2 battery pack that generates 40 volts for the operation of the electronics system and a brushless direct current motor. Together, the battery and motor propel the EMATT for programmed speeds of 3 to 12 knots. The motor design requires a RPM of 4050, with at least a torque of 1.15 N-m. Test point efficiency is required to be greater than 80%. Overall, the weight of the motor is not to exceed 2 pounds or a length of 2.5 inches. Currently, the system lacks the capability to emulate tactically realistic dynamic maneuvers of submarines for effective ASW training. This topic seeks to increase the efficiency of the current generation motor over a range of speeds, thus conserving energy, improving cooling, reducing weight, and minimizing acoustic noise. The motor technology to be explored is the technologically challenging goal of this SBIR topic. Alternatively, current commercial applications for oceanography profiling, water sampling and other underwater data collection applications utilizing brushed and brushless DC motor designs can benefit from research and development in this field. Improved propulsion efficiency, increased payload capacity, and prolonged endurance is desirable for these applications.

Production cost of the new motor is expected to be less than $1,250, which is equivalent in cost of the existing motor. Post Phase II, the cost will be equivalent to the current MK39 MOD 3 EMATT but yield greater than a 5% increase in energy efficiency leading to a 5% reduction in EMATT procurement cost (greater than a $375K reduction per year) for the same amount of training time. Once proven, the technology may have reach into other UUV programs and also contribute to improved EMATT emulation of subs with a higher sprint speed.

PHASE I: Develop the concept for candidate motor technologies that meet the requirements as discussed in the topic Objective and Description. Determine the feasibility of developing devices for ‘A’ size vehicles that may be readily integrated and not impact the hydrodynamic performance or acoustic mission of the existing MK39 Mod 3 design through modeling and simulation. Determine technical feasibility of motor technologies that meet the Navy’s needs. Define the proposed concept and explain how it can be developed into a useful product, improving the Mk39 EMATT for the Navy. The Phase I Option, if exercised, will include the initial concept design specifications and capabilities description to build a prototype solution in Phase II.

PHASE II: Based on the results of Phase I concept develop, and deliver a prototype for validation as appropriate. The prototype will be evaluated to determine its capability in meeting the initial design specifications and the Navy requirements for increased endurance and higher sprint speeds to better emulate threat submarines and create more effective ASW training. System performance will be demonstrated through prototype evaluation using modeling, simulation, and/or analytical methods over the required range of parameters. Evaluation results will be used to refine the prototype into an initial design that will meet Navy requirements. The prototype should be delivered at the end of Phase II, ready to be flown and tested by the government. A quantity of 10 prototype motors are to be provided to the Government for testing by the end of Phase II.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Support the Navy in transitioning the technology for Navy use. Support the Navy during In-Water testing and validation of the delivered prototypes in an operationally relevant environment. Integrated Phase II prototype motors will be incorporated into the MK39 EMATT and in PMS 404, ASW Training Targets.

The MK39 EMATT with an improved propulsion system would improve its suitability for numerous commercial applications, including oceanography profiling, water sampling, and other underwater data collection applications. The improved propulsion efficiency could provide enhanced endurance at slower speeds, which is very desirable for these data collection applications.


1.       Ruffo, Gustavo Henrique. "UPDATE: Infinitum Electric Creates Printed-Circuit-Board-Stator Motor." Inside EVs. 05 December 2019.

2.       Saini, Manish. "Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Motors." Tutorials Point. 24 September 2021.

3.       Di Paolo Emilio, Maurizio. "Printed Circuit Board Stator Maximizes Efficiency in Motor Applications." Power Electronics News. 19 May 2021.


KEYWORDS: Expendable Mobile Anti-Submarine Warfare Training Target; Anti-Submarine; ASW; MK39 EMATT; ASW Targets; stable hydrodynamic speed; propulsor; efficient motor; Printed Circuit Board, PCB stator

TPOC-1: Robert Phillip

Phone: (401) 832-3730

Email: [email protected]


TPOC-2: Brian Cuddy 

Phone: (401) 832-5681

Email: [email protected]


The Navy Topic above is an "unofficial" copy from the Navy Topics in the DoD 23.1 SBIR BAA. Please see the official DoD Topic website at for any updates.

The DoD issued its Navy 23.1 SBIR Topics pre-release on January 11, 2023 which opens to receive proposals on February 8, 2023, and closes March 8, 2023 (12:00pm ET).

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