SEA’S KraitArray sonar produces positive performance at UW16

Published 15th November 2016

Cohort plc company SEA completed demonstrations of its KraitArray array sonar system towed from the Liquid Robotics® SHARC Wave Glider® Unmanned Surface Vessel (USV) and a BAE Systems P950 rigid hulled inflatable boat (RHIB), also performing in unmanned mode, at the Royal Navy’s Unmanned Warrior 16 (UW16) exercise off the West Coast of Scotland.

SEA has developed the advanced KraitArray which is a configurable thin line (16mm) acoustic array comprising 32 channels that provide a 50m acoustic aperture. The KraitArray is more than a small ASW towed array. UW16 proved the capability of the KraitArray as a passive ASW sensor and has allowed SEA to explore its capabilities as part of bi-static systems, as a communications aperture and in detecting threats from fast surface craft.

In the ASW component of UW16, SEA staff were instrumental in developing ASW deployment patterns and tactics to enable Surface, Air and Underwater unmanned systems from Boeing, Liquid Robotics, Autonaut, Ultra and SAAB to co-operate to maintain an ASW barrier in the waters off the Outer Hebrides. USVs with the KraitArray have proved the capability to deploy and maintain an effective ASW barrier for protracted periods in conditions up to sea state 6.

The ASW demonstration during UW16 was a milestone achievement which gave the RN considerable insight into the potential for unmanned systems to contribute to integrated ASW capability in the future.

KraitArray’s small diameter, low weight and low power, combined with a wide acoustic detection band has already made it a popular choice as a military and commercial technology.

SEA Product Manager Alex Key explained:

“The initial feedback from UW16 has been extremely positive. KraitArray is at the forefront of low weight, low power towed sonar systems that can be used for a wide range of military applications including ASW, torpedo detection and border surveillance. We continue to work on incremental technical developments that will further extend the system’s capability.”