Field Serviceable Non-Acoustic Data Logging Sensor Module for Towed Arrays
Navy SBIR 2019.2 - Topic N192-103
NAVSEA - Mr. Dean Putnam -
Opens: May 31, 2019 - Closes: July 1, 2019 (8:00 PM ET)


TITLE: Field Serviceable Non-Acoustic Data Logging Sensor Module for Towed Arrays


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Battlespace, Electronics, Sensors


ACQUISITION PROGRAM: PMS 401, Submarine Acoustic 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 towed array sensor module with a field-serviceable, self-contained recording system that measures and records environmental conditions experienced by a towed array while deployed.


DESCRIPTION: Navy towed arrays exist as a series of removable and swappable modules that are loaded onto Navy platforms as a single assembly for deployment and operation. Due to bandwidth, space, cost, and reliability constraints, there is a data gap regarding the measured environmental conditions that towed arrays experience during deployment and utilization. To fill this gap, an ultra-low-power (< 1 mw per channel) environmental sensing and recording module capable of surviving the towed array environment is required. The array operating environment is

-2C to 50C, pressure to 1200 psi, and vibration in accordance with MIL-STD-167A. The device must be 1) fully contained, meaning that electrical interfacing to the rest of the array is not required in any way, 2) capable of transferring the recorded data across a wireless interface, and 3) contain power storage devices to provide power over the 1 year life. The development of innovative methods of data compression and storage, sensor design and packaging, energy storage, and low-power electronics will be required to meet the system requirements. The information gathered from the recorder will help determine condition-based maintenance for in-service towed systems and define improvement areas for system upgrades by providing statistical usage information as inputs into towed array reliability models. The cost of a towed array failing during Navy operations is very high and the implementation of condition-based maintenance would reduce the likelihood of failure since the array could be removed and repaired or upgraded prior to failure. The goal is to reduce overall failures by at least 10%. Present system provide an Ao (probability of meeting 1 year mission) of approximately 60%. Additionally, information from this product could support development of a refurbishment system that repairs arrays as needed rather than using a time-based system, reducing the total ownership costs for the system by at least 10%. If the failures of towed arrays could be predicted through condition-based maintenance, then failures during operations could be avoided and overall mission capability would be improved. This system would also help prevent over or under specifying systems during procurement, which would lower initial acquisition and total ownership costs.


The goal is for the sensor module to contain pressure (depth), vibration and acceleration, temperature, bending, and motion (gyro) sensors. Data will be recorded locally and removed via an external port during typical maintenance periods at Intermediate Maintenance Activity (IMA) facilities. Means for data removal will be determined by the technology solution. A system, which can constantly record for an entire installed period (up to one year) at a 35Hz sample rate with higher frequency sampling (at least 2 times the maximum frequency of the dynamic event up to 100Hz) during dynamic events, is desired. Dynamic events are typically tow ship turns and speed changes.

Dynamic events can occur up to 10 times per day with an average duration of 5 minutes. At a minimum, the system must persistently log at a 0.2Hz sample rate and record changes in environmental conditions (10% change from average of previous 5 samples) or peak accelerations above a threshold that can be specified by the end-user (IMA personnel). The selectable threshold settings shall be at least 5g, 10g, 15g, and 20g. For these high-acceleration events, the system will record the levels and frequency content of the acceleration. All sensors will be time-synced

and a time stamp will be required for all recorded data to allow reconstruction of events.


Key requirements are electronics packaging, data compression (data is stored in the data recorder portion of the module), power consumption, and sensor performance. The sensor and recorder will be exposed to extreme environments during their lifetimes and will be expected to maintain their accuracy (inclusive of drift) over the following described requirements. The pressure (depth) sensor is required to measure a range of 0.0 to 1200psi with a ± 3.0 psi accuracy. The temperature sensor is required to measure a range of -29C to 50C with a ± 1.0C accuracy. The accelerometers are required to measure 3 orthogonal axes from 0.0 g to 25.0 g with ± 0.3 g accuracy. The vibration sensor must be capable of accurately measuring the level and frequency content of the acceleration up to 100 Hz. Motion (gyroscopic) sensors are desired, but the Navy does not have any relevant specifications describing their expected range and accuracy at this time. An ONR program is presently conducting measurements to determine these requirements and the data is expected to be available in 2Q FY19. Each aspect of the sensor will be exposed to the ranges of all of the other sensors and cannot suffer damage or degradation as a result of such exposure (e.g., pressure sensor cannot fail at ambient temperatures of 40°C).


The system is required to operate for up to one (1) year under the aforementioned conditions with the sensors operating at a minimum sample rate of 0.2Hz. The system must be self-powered during its operational period of one

(1)   year. No Lithium Ion batteries may be used. The system should be capable of recharging or have the power supply components easily replaceable. The system must be capable of offloading data at a 1 Gbps rate.


Due to size limitations inherent to Navy towed array applications, the system must be designed to permit packaging in a towed array module configuration (to be performed by the Government). Packaging typically consists of mounting the unit in open-cell foam that is positioned inside the array strength member and hose. The maximum outer diameter of the completed (Navy packaged) module is 1.45 inches. No single component of the assembly should exceed 5.1 inches in rigid length, nor have any rigid component that exceeds 0.78 inches in diameter. The overall length of the Navy packaged module will be 10 feet. All system components must fit within a 9-foot length, with at least 6 inches between rigid components. The system, when fully packaged, must be neutrally buoyant in the marine environment (~1.027 specific gravity). As with current submarine towed array technology, each module is filled with some positively buoyant fluid, the components of the system within the module must be compatible with ExxonMobil ISOPAR L and ISOPAR M fluids. The system components will be exposed to bending loads of up to 25 pounds (assuming simply supported at the ends and the load applied in the middle of the component).


Currently available commercial data logging products do not meet the Navy’s combined requirements for size, longevity, environmental exposure, and data compression as described in the paragraphs above.


The Phase II effort will likely require access to classified data, and NAVSEA will process the DD254 to support the contractor for personnel and facility certification for secure access. The Phase I effort will not require access to classified information. If required, data of commensurate complexity to measured towed array data will be provided by the Government to support Phase I work.


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 a concept for a towed array sensor module with a field-serviceable, self-contained recording system capable of remote access during regular maintenance periods at IMA facilities. Ensure that the sensor and system addresses the critical performance factors as set forth in the Description and show that it is feasible. Establish feasibility through modeling and simulation that show it meets the requirements. Develop a Phase II plan. The Phase I Option, if exercised, will include the initial design specifications and capabilities description to build a prototype

solution in Phase II.


PHASE II: Design, develop, and deliver a prototype towed array sensor module with its recording system. The Government will provide support for packaging the system within the towed array configuration. Evaluate, test and certify the system as described in the Phase II SOW. Prepare a Phase III development plan to transition the technology for Navy production and potential commercial use.


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: Assist the Navy in transitioning the fully functional towed array sensor module with recording system to Navy use. The Government will provide the company access to a Navy ship where the final system validation and performance verification will be conducted. Support installation and removal from an at-sea test platform and assist in data recovery and processing using the system for towed arrays. Verify existing data by using the measurements and accuracy of the recording system.


The development of the innovative power, data compression, and sensor technology has a wide range of potential applications for any remote or unmanned environmental measurement systems (e.g., oil and gas exploration, space exploration, oceanographic exploration) and any system that benefits from extreme data compression (e.g., streaming data, data storage).



1.   Lemon, S. G. "Towed-Array History, 1917-2003." IEEE Journal of Oceanic Engineering, Vol. 29, No. 2, April 2004, pages 365-373.


2.   Burdic, William S. “Underwater Acoustic System Analysis.” Prentice-Hall, Inc.: New Jersey, 1991.


KEYWORDS: Environmental Sensors; Low Power Electronics for Towed Arrays; Data Recorder that Measures Environmental Conditions; Towed Array; Data Compression; Marine environmental Conditions



Robert Cutler






Michael Williams






NOTICE: The data above is for casual reference only. The official DoD/Navy topic description and BAA information is available on FedBizOpps at

These Navy Topics are part of the overall DoD 2019.2 SBIR BAA. The DoD issued its 2019.2 BAA SBIR pre-release on May 2, 2019, which opens to receive proposals on May 31, 2019, and closes July 1, 2019 at 8:00 PM ET.

Between May 2, 2019 and May 30, 2019 you may communicate directly with the Topic Authors (TPOC) to ask technical questions about the topics. During these dates, their contact information is listed above. For reasons of competitive fairness, direct communication between proposers and topic authors is not allowed starting May 31, 2019
when DoD begins accepting proposals for this BAA.

Help: If you have general questions about DoD SBIR program, please contact the DoD SBIR Help Desk at 800-348-0787 or via email at