Low-Cost UUV Deployed Self-Scuttling Acoustic Source for Littoral Bottom Surveys
Navy STTR FY2012.A

Sol No.: Navy STTR FY2012.A
Topic No.: N12A-T017
Topic Title: Low-Cost UUV Deployed Self-Scuttling Acoustic Source for Littoral Bottom Surveys
Proposal No.: N12A-017-0063
Firm: Creare Inc.
P.O. Box 71
Hanover, New Hampshire 03755
Contact: Jed Wilbur
Phone: (603) 643-3800
Web Site: www.creare.com
Abstract: Ocean bottom acoustic surveys are an important component of a number of littoral missions. Knowledge of local ocean bottom acoustic properties is necessary for modern anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and mine and other buried object detection missions to be successful. Bottom-hugging Unmanned Undersea Vehicles (UUVs) are a promising tool for conducting these littoral surveys. However, these missions require a well-characterized sound source that must ultimately be expendable. Existing sound sources are too expensive and poorly suited for UUV deployment: a new, small, very low-cost sound source is needed. In this STTR program, Creare proposes to develop a Self-Scuttling Acoustic Source (SSAS) to suit the littoral surveying need of the Navy. Unlike traditional (and expensive) devices, the SSAS will utilize innovative acoustic transmit-only transduction mechanisms designed with low production cost in mind from the beginning. The SSAS will be small enough for at least four units to be carried and deployed from a single UUV, allowing for multiple survey sites to be interrogated in series. To maximize the acoustic performance and minimize the overall cost, we will investigate and compare three different promising transduction mechanisms in Phase I.
Benefits: The littoral acoustic surveys necessary for anti-submarine warfare and buried object detection require a low cost, compact, and expendable sound source. Our proposed source addresses this need while meeting the cost target through novel transduction mechanisms and the leveraging of commercial components. The results of the littoral surveys enabled by this device will improve effectiveness of the Navy's ASW, mine, and buried-object missions. The source may also find use in the civilian oceanography and oil and gas exploration markets.