Cohort plc company SEA is showcasing a new, enhanced version of its thin line KraitArray towed Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) sonar at Pacific 2017 in Sydney.
The innovative sonar is particularly suited to the market for smaller ships such as Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) and offers operators greater detection and bearing ranges.
The ultra-light KraitArray now extends up to 150m in length, compared to the current 50m. It is enabled by connectors between modules and offers up to ten times the current performance. SEA’s latest version of KraitArray is expected to be ready for sea trials early in 2018.
The longer 16mm diameter KraitArray allows for at least 128 acoustic channels and features up to 32 non-acoustic sensors for monitoring array shape and orientation.
Improved hydrophones reduce the noise floor and improve low frequency performance. They can also easily be turned on and off to enable lower power consumption and greater redundancy.
The acoustic and non-acoustic channels are continuously and simultaneously sampled at high frequency. Acoustic signal digitisation and multiplexing occurs within the connectors, which have a plug and play Ethernet interface.
“Improved hydrophone performance, along with the longer length and higher channel count, will allow for increased detection ranges and greater target bearing resolution,” explains KraitArray Product Manager Alex Key.
The compact nature of the longer KraitArray also means that it can be reeled onto a winch, even by hand, and stowed easily when not in use. Its increased modularity means that damaged parts can readily be swapped out in the field, improving reliability and cost effectiveness, while offering extended life.
The options for greater redundancy and lower power consumption also increase the system’s suitability to long duration and persistent deployment from unmanned vessels, particularly those that rely on solar power.
“KraitArray is a fraction of the cost of a traditional heavy towed array and delivers similar performance levels produced by larger, more costly traditional arrays,” adds Key.
KraitArray has already been an integral part of intensive ASW trials carried out from unmanned vessels both in the UK during Unmanned Warrior16 and in various US trials. There has also been considerable interest from SE Asia, where its deployment via SEA’s Krait Defence System is viewed as an attractive ASW asset for smaller vessels.
In the small ship sector, KraitArray’s capability has been further enhanced as part of a wider detection and countermeasures defence system – Krait Defence System – that uses common software to integrate SEA’s proven range of decoy and torpedo launchers.
“Our research and development goal is to progress KraitArray so that it delivers the same performance as an existing towed array,” adds Key. “There are two strong markets in particular – the first is for fitting our Krait Defence System to small ships such as patrol craft and OPVs, while we see the thin line towed array as an ideal ASW solution for unmanned vessels.”