QinetiQ has designed a novel towed array system that has been configured to fit into a small space making it ideal for use by submarines.
According to the company, this is the first time towed array technology has been inserted into such a small volume with all of the advantages of more conventional larger systems.
Towed arrays are long tubes containing ‘listening’ sensors, which are towed behind submarines to allow them to detect other shipping. The CSTAR towed array system is a thin (38mm diameter) towed array with Vibration Isolation Modules, tow cable and handling system.
The system is driven by four electric drives, one each for the winch, spooling, transfer drive and flushing pump; the control hardware is comprised almost entirely of Commercial Off the Shelf (COTS) equipment.
At the design stage of CSTAR all design preconceptions were discarded and a totally novel mechanical design produced. The longitudinal strength members were distributed just inside the hose wall rather than in thick ropes down the centre of the array.
The CSTAR is neutrally buoyant, submarine winchable, emits low noise, has high survival speed, long acoustic aperture, and has a high channel count.
The towed array has already proved itelf in a number of trials including one with a UK submarine.