Scalable High Frequency Transmit/Receive Array for Multiple Unmanned Underwater Vehicle and Torpedo Applications

Navy STTR 24.A - Topic N24A-T012
ONR - Office of Naval Research
Pre-release 11/29/23   Opens to accept proposals 1/03/24   Now Closes 2/21/24 12:00pm ET

N24A-T012 TITLE: Scalable High Frequency Transmit/Receive Array for Multiple Unmanned Underwater Vehicle and Torpedo Applications

OUSD (R&E) CRITICAL TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Integrated Network Systems-of-Systems; Integrated Sensing and Cyber;Sustainment

OBJECTIVE: Develop a configurable, scalable, adaptable, and affordable High Frequency SONAR array technology based upon efficient and affordable textured ceramic materials to offer benefits of improved performance in more compact form factors.

DESCRIPTION: Textured transduction ceramic materials based on lead magnesium niobate-lead titanate (PMN-PT) are an emerging transduction material with properties and performance characteristics superior to those of legacy lead zirconate titanate (PZT), offer additive manufacturing advantages that translate to unique performance and applications opportunities, and are more affordable than the higher performing and less available single crystal materials. The advent of textured ceramics has proven to be a boon to the Navy in stimulating investments that are affordably and effectively refreshing the critical national infrastructure that is acoustic transduction. The space, weight, power, performance, and cost tradeoff space has been altered by textured ceramic materials in a way that is succeeding in overcoming reluctance to considering the risk and cost of new acoustic transduction devices. On autonomous vehicles, maximum sustained performance at the lowest cost is the objective. Making multiple uses of the same, best array of acoustic sensors within an open architecture communication and control architecture to best and most affordably perform multiple missions is an opportunity large enough to subsume multiple stovepipes in legacy capabilities. While not yet so mature, compositions of textured PZT materials are of interest, but only to the extent that documented experience with the proposed material formulation is cited. Designs appropriate to future multi-mission heavy-weight torpedoes but which can be scaled / configured to meet the HF search and acoustic communications requirements of next generation UUVs and concept for their employment in the performance of a variety of missions including Mine Warfare (MIW), Naval Special Warfare (NSW), and Explosive Ordnance Demolition (EOD), while simultaneously offering higher performance back-fit options are a priority are a principal objective. Government rights to a sensor and array design concept so that stove pipes in both future and legacy systems can be mitigated is another high priority objective.

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 32 U.S.C. 2004.20 et seq., National Industrial Security Program Executive Agent and Operating Manual, unless acceptable mitigating procedures can and have been implemented and approved by the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA) formerly Defense Security Service (DSS). The selected contractor must be able to acquire and maintain a secret level facility and Personnel Security Clearances. This will allow contractor personnel to perform on advanced phases of this project as set forth by DCSA and ONR 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 during the advanced phases of this contract IAW the National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual (NISPOM), which can be found at Title 32, Part 2004.20 of the Code of Federal Regulations. Reference: National Industrial Security Program Executive Agent and Operating Manual (NISP), 32 U.S.C. 2004.20 et seq. (1993).

PHASE I: Develop a scalable HF acoustic transducer concept that is configurable as an acoustic transmit/receive array suited to both legacy acoustic communications and heavyweight torpedo detection and homing applications. Demonstrate a robust, manufacturable, and affordable design for individual transducer elements that are consistent with a scalable array concept that is appropriate for consideration as options for both legacy UUV and heavyweight torpedo applications, but which offer scalable, and configurable future performance improvement and mission capability options.

PHASE II: Construct an HF array of such sensors suitable to some legacy or future application. Evaluate the cost and performance envelope made possible by the innovative application of textured ceramics in some new or existing array concept for which the Navy has government use rights. Alignment of the physical characteristics of the design to a form that can be tested on a UUV or torpedo platform of specific, relevant interest to a transition customer agreeable to collaborative testing is expected. The transition application for the customer / collaborator at Phase II, including perhaps a different or additional transition customer at Phase III, is likely to have corresponding security and export control restrictions.

Work in Phase II may become classified. Please see note in the Description.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Deliver an affordable and fundamentally new performance capability for both commercial and Navy / Marine Corps and commercial high frequency SONAR and for Navy / Marine Corps acoustic communications that could not before have been achieved on the basis of space, weight, and power constraints. Alternatively, the Phase III application might well be one intended to remedy a situation of prohibitive cost for a legacy capability. The transition customer would provide detailed specifications for the transducers and for the array extent and geometry.


  1. Eckstein, Megan. (29 October 2015). "Navy Planning Torpedo Restart, Would Be Modular Design With Multiple Payloads." USNI News, 29 October 2015.
  2. Butler, J.L. and Sherman, C.H. "Transducers and Arrays for Underwater Sound." Springer, 2016.

KEYWORDS: open architecture; textured ceramics; acoustic communication; acoustic transducer; acoustic array; high frequency


The Navy Topic above is an "unofficial" copy from the Navy Topics in the DoD 24.A STTR BAA. Please see the official DoD Topic website at for any updates.

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