Tethered Antennas for Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUVs)
Navy SBIR FY2008.2

Sol No.: Navy SBIR FY2008.2
Topic No.: N08-194
Topic Title: Tethered Antennas for Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUVs)
Proposal No.: N082-194-0262
Firm: Adaptive Methods, Inc
5885 Trinity Parkway
Suite 230
Centreville, Virginia 20120
Contact: Jim Wiggins
Phone: (301) 840-9722
Web Site: www.adaptivemethods.com
Abstract: When submerged, unmanned undersea vehicles (UUVs) have difficulty with navigation and communication: inertial navigation systems can be used but they are subject to drift the longer the unit remains below; communications are limited to low bandwidth acoustics or wiring back to another vessel or shore platform. A tethered antenna system which allowed RF antennas to remain above water but connected to a UUV below could provide a bi-directional, high data rate link to a nearby vessel or shore platform as well as GPS coordinate data for more precise navigation. A concept and implementation plan for a buoyant, tethered antenna system is discussed in this proposal. Key features include a hydro-dynamically stable surface platform with minimal drag and weight for RF antennas, low cost commercial electronics providing 802.11 wireless communications and GPS data to the UUV, and a strong yet small, lightweight tethered cable capable of reeling the system between the UUV and the surface.
Benefits: The US Navy will benefit from this technology by adding high-bandwidth communication and GPS navigation capabilities to unmanned undersea vehicles. This system could provide the same capabilities to other agencies and the commercial sector involved in UUV operations.