Environmental Characterization of Tactical Sensors (ECTS)
Environmental information is critical to successful littoral Air ASW multistatic search operations. Environmental information is used to optimize buoy field spacing, frequency band selection, and classifier parameters in systems such as Improved Extended Echo Ranging (IEER) and Distant Thunder.
In littoral ASW, tactically important environmental parameters are local, time-varying and require 'in-situ' measurements. Signal Systems Corporations, with its teammate The University of Washington - Applied Physics Laboratory, have examined alternatives to developing a new tactical acoustic measurement buoy. We focus on using existing fleet assets with small modifications to buoys and aircraft.
Our concepts come from developments in the Beartrap Environmental Characterization, and Non-Traditional Acoustic Processing programs. Environmental Characterization using Tactical Sensors (ECTS) can utilize a ping-while-drop deployment to obtain environmental information during the search operation itself.
Because of the difficulties in saturation effects, we have examined the use of extended dynamic range buoys to provide bottom parameter extraction results, and to estimate ambient noise levels. Existing sonobuoys would be used for sound speed profile estimation.
In Phase I, we examined bottom parameter and ambient noise estimation using extended ADAR sonobuoys. We also have developed a concept of operations that merges tactical search and ECTS. If this innovative approach shows feasibility, the resulting ECTS capability offers lower cost and reduced logistics demands for in-situ environmental characterization. Reduced time to an operational capability is also anticipated.
The ECTS Phase II effort will develop an automated process of using tactical sensors associated with the IEER and ALFS systems to extract environmental parameters. These parameters need to be extracted accurately and soon enough to predict system performance and plan the rest of the mission. The sonar system’s Tactical Decision Aide (TDA) will use these parameters to predict field performance for the existing/recorded mission and to recommend improved field or dipping plans for near-future missions in the same area. The ECTS processor will be used by the Navy when historical information has too much uncertainty for reliable mission planning.
The anticipated benefits for this system development would be a faster and cheaper way to optimize sonobuoy field parameters. No additional environmental sensors would be needed since tactical sensors are utilized to acquire environmental data.
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