DARPA awards contract for underwater positioning system

The U.S. Navy has autonomous watercraft aspirations, and it needs a way for future unmanned (and manned) subs to navigate accurately. Here to help is DARPA, which has selected BAE Systems to create an underwater positioning system for deep ocean navigation (POSYDON). The program will produce a navigation system that eliminates the need to surface for updated GPS data.

This underwater system ultimately aims to keep U.S. Navy underwater vehicles save by, A) eliminating the need to resurface periodically for GPS, and B) sidestep any local GPS signal jamming that could be underway from enemy devices. POSYDON will provide these underwater vehicles with positioning data, timing, and navigation instructions.

The program's eventual system will work using acoustic signals given by underwater instruments of some sort, as shown in the image above. Related instruments for the underwater vessel will also be created by BAE Systems, enabling submarines and more to communicate with the navigation devices.

Said BAE Systems' Director of Sensor Processing and Exploitation Joshua Niedzwiecki:

BAE Systems has more than 40 years of experience developing underwater active and passive acoustic systems.We'll use this same technology to revolutionize undersea navigation for the POSYDON program, by selecting and demonstrating acoustic underwater GPS sources and corresponding small-form factor receivers.