Litton Demonstrates First Fiberoptic Towed Array Sonar System

An industrial team lead by Litton has successfully demonstrated to the U.S. Navy for the first time the application of advanced fiberoptic technology to an all-optical shipboard sonar system. The development was accomplished under the sponsorship of the Naval Research Laboratory and the Naval Underwater Systems Center.

A. David Klein, vice president for advanced programs at Litton's Guidance & Control Systems Division, Woodland Hills, Calif., said: "We expect that this technology will provide expanded data handling capacity and more capable sensors in a less complex, lighter weight and less costly system than currently operational sonar arrays towed behind ships. Additionally, this fiberoptic system would not require any electrical power in the sonar cable and would not be affected by electromagnetic interference from outside sources." The demonstration at sea, completing a two-year, $4 million development program, was conducted in a U.S. Navy research vessel utilizing Litton fiberoptic acoustic sen- sors and an all-optical telemetry system linking the sensors in the cable with shipboard instrumentation.

Litton's team member Bendix Oceanics, Sylmar, Calif., designed and fabricated the array structure and worked with Litton to integrate the system and conduct system testing.

Mr. Klein said that Litton and Bendix are currently working with the Navy to develop plans to introduce lower cost systems with these advances into future operational ships and submarines.

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