The U.S. Navy has awarded a $27.9 million contract to Raytheon to develop the company’s new variable depth sonar (VDS) for the littoral combat ship, according to a company news release.
The contract was awarded after a study and product assessment phase to prove the solution’s features and capabilities met all of the Navy’s design and performance requirements.
The system is identical for both LCS variants, whose size and reduced crews demanded reduced size and weight of the VDS system to minimize ship impact and ease of operation.
A VDS is an important tool in anti-submarine warfare (ASW), and a key part of the ASW suite for the LCS, one of three warfare packages – the others being anti-surface warfare and mine warfare – that can be installed on the multi-purpose warships. Trailed on a cable from the stern of the ship, a VDS can be maneuvered beneath layers of water of different temperatures and salinity that could otherwise obscure targets from hull-mounted sonars.
“We leveraged decades of sonar systems expertise and our proven ability to innovate to create this groundbreaking technology,” said Raytheon’s Paul Ferraro, vice president of Integrated Defense Systems’ Seapower Capability Systems business area. “Raytheon’s reliable, cost-effective variable depth sonar will allow the Navy to rapidly introduce this new anti-submarine capability to meet the LCS mission.”
The system is identical for both LCS variants, whose size and reduced crews demanded reduced size and weight of the VDS system to minimize ship impact and ease of operation. Raytheon says the solution also offers increased maneuverability as well as increased space and capacity for other warfighting payloads. The U.S. Navy and Raytheon carried out a full-scale demonstration of the system at Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute in August 2016, according to the company. Raytheon’s partners for the program include Curtiss Wright-Indal, Adaptive Methods, Inc., Purvis Systems and Harbor Branch.
The contract calls for Raytheon to develop its design to a full pre-production test article, which the company expects to complete in late 2018. Total contract value could be more than $300 million should the VDS go into production.