Deep Submergence Tactical Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) and Doppler Velocity Logger (DVL)
Navy SBIR 2019.2 - Topic N192-116
NAVSEA - Mr. Dean Putnam -
Opens: May 31, 2019 - Closes: July 1, 2019 (8:00 PM ET)


TITLE: Deep Submergence Tactical Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) and Doppler Velocity Logger (DVL)


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Battlespace, Electronics, Sensors


ACQUISITION PROGRAM: SEA073, Advanced Submarine Systems Development


OBJECTIVE: Design and develop a family of Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers (ADCPs) and Doppler Velocity Loggers (DVLs), deployable on the hull of a submarine, with current profiling and bottom/surface tracking capability.


DESCRIPTION: Real-time, accurate current profiling and bottom/surface tracking are critical to a submarine’s sensing capabilities such as tracking speed through water, speed over ground, and speed and direction of ocean currents. Traditional ADCP and DVL configurations have used three or four acoustic beams, with an optional additional vertically oriented beam for fine resolution sensing, such as ocean wave-height measurements. The DVL is typically an ADCP used to bottom track while accounting for platform motion in order to estimate three- dimensional vehicle speed over ground. The DVL can assist in expanding the time between Global Positioning System (GPS) fixes by augmenting existing inertial navigation instruments onboard the submarine. The ADCP/DVL range is very much frequency dependent and typical units can measure from 50 to 1,000 meters. The minimum expected range for this sensor will be 100 m. The repetition rate at maximum range should be at least 1 Hz. In current profiling mode, the family of instruments should return velocity measurements with single-ping precision comparable to current-generation Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) oceanographic ADCPs. A 150 kHz ADCP should achieve velocity precision better than 4 cm/s for vertical resolution (bin size) 2 m and velocity range +/- 2 m/s; a 600 kHz ADCP should achieve velocity precision 2 cm/s under the same conditions.


In addition to the sensing requirements, the ADCPs and DVLs must be able to withstand depths of at least 3000m and tactical shock events in accordance with NAVSEA S9070-AA-MME-010/SSN/SSBN, (Appendix K), while remaining operational. Existing COTS ADCP/DVL technology does not meet tactical submarine installation requirements. Although some units can go as deep as 6000m, the implodable=volume still represents a potential threat to neighboring systems and rescue personnel. A collapse pressure equivalent to or greater than the pressure at

1.5 times the maximum depth rating, minimization of air-backed implodable volume, and manufacturing to ensure no separation of parts from the main unit in the event of shock, are paramount. The minimum expected depth for the sensor will be 3,000 m. The sensor can be mounted as either upward- or downward-looking. Therefore, the transducer faces should be ruggedized to protect from abrasion by having a shore durometer of at least 90A or a final coating of the same hardness of sufficient thickness to protect transducer faces. The ADCP/DVL head that is exposed to ocean flow should have minimal impact on hydrodynamic flow by having a baffled drag coefficient less than half that of a hemisphere of the same diameter as the ADCP/DVL head. The exposed ADCP/DVL head should have minimal or no cavities and features that would produce structure borne (aside from intended transduced acoustics), airborne and fluid borne noise per NAVSEA S9070-AA-MME-010/SSN/SSBN, (3.15).


The Navy desires innovative ADCPs and DVLs that can be deployed from existing U.S. Submarine Classes in a tactical environment to provide real-time measurements of speed through water, speed over ground, and speed and direction of ocean current strata. Proposed designs should be able to meet the following goals: shock grade A requirements; and submergence, power and attachment capability to meet current tactical submarine alteration requirements per NAVSEA S9070-AA-MME-010/SSN/SSBN. ADCP and DVLs that satisfy requirements for tactical installations will allow unrestricted transits during scientific or tactical missions, thus providing greater flexibility for a submarine to operate in its intended environments without having to stop a mission to remove a non- tactical piece of equipment.


The Phase II effort will likely require secure access, 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 need be, data of the same level of complexity as secured data will be provided 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 real-time ADCPs and DVLs that can be deployed on existing U.S. Submarine Classes. Demonstrate the feasibility of the concept in meeting Navy needs and establish that the concept can be developed into a useful product for the Navy. Establish feasibility by material testing and analytical modeling. Evaluate the concept by determining how well they address the ADCP/DVL goals and how they will demonstrate feasibility through a financial and marketing analysis that must be submitted with all concept ideas. Provide a Phase II initial proposal with performance goals, key technical milestones, and technical risk reduction. The Phase I Option, if exercised, will include the initial design and capabilities description to build the unit in Phase II.


PHASE II: Develop a prototype for evaluation by the Government to determine its capability in meeting the performance goals defined in Phase II SOW and the Navy requirements. Demonstrate system performance through prototype testing over the required range of parameters, including numerous deployment cycles. Use test results to refine the prototype into an initial design that will meet Navy requirements. Prepare a Phase III development plan to transition the technology to Navy use. Support the Navy for test and validation to certify and qualify the system for Navy use on existing U.S. Submarine Classes.


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: Support the Navy in transitioning the ADCP/DVL technology for Navy use. Develop ADCPs and DVLs that are deployable from the hull of a submarine for evaluation to determine their effectiveness in an operationally relevant environment.


Commercial and dual use applications include every major marine industry, surface and submarine. ADCP/DVL

technology can be applied to commercial sectors such as navigational aiding, oceanographic measurement, rig station-keeping, and any industry in which ocean current profiling through a range of depths is useful.



1.   Mueller, David S. “Measuring Discharge with Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers from a Moving Boat”. U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, 2009.


2.   Ross, Tetjana. “Acoustic scattering from density and sound speed gradients: Modeling of oceanic pycnoclines.” The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, Vol. 131, Issue 1, 2012, pp. EL54-EL60.


3.   Snyder, Jeff. “Doppler Velocity Log (DVL) Navigation for Observation-Class ROVs.” IEEE Conference Proceedings, OCEANS – Seattle 2010 MTS/IEEE, 2010, pp. 1-9.


4.   Miller, Paul. “Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Navigation.” IEEE Journal of Oceanic Engineering, Vol. 35, Issue 3, 2010, pp. 663-678.


5.   “Technical Requirements Manual For Temporary Submarine Alterations.” Naval Sea Systems Command, NAVSEA S9070-AA-MME-010/SSN/SSBN


KEYWORDS: Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler; ADCP; Doppler Velocity Log; DVL; Speed through Water; Bottom Tracking; Navy Shock Qualified; Speed and Direction of Ocean Currents



William Martin






S. Bradford Doyle






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