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OPEN ARCHITECTURE SOFTWARE FOR SONAR SIGNATURE PROCESSING

OPEN ARCHITECTURE SOFTWARE FOR SONAR SIGNATURE PROCESSING
By Stefan Nitschke, M.Sc., Defence Analyst

Following successes with delivering the first open architecture software increments of the Sonar Acoustic Post Processing System (SAPPS) to the Royal Swedish Navy (RSwN) to improve the services’ analysis of acoustic and electromagnetic signatures of seagoing ships, the Toronto/Canada-based software specialist Array Systems Computing, Inc. is now about to deliver the Underwater Acoustic Analysis System (UAAS) to the German Navy’s Hydroacoustic Analysis Centre (HAM).

Because acoustic signatures from surface and subsurface targets must be carefully assessed and analysed for decision-making, today’s submerged platforms require advanced sonar equipment to form part of submarine C4ISR and specific RSTA functions used to detect, track, and classify the spectrum of targets. Within this scheme, information derived or fused together from multiple source data must be rapidly disseminated, either in real-time or near real-time, by various means to other forces and units afloat and ashore as well as to the command and control pyramid (at whatever level) for interpretation and processing by humans or by automatic means to shorten the Observe-Orientate-Decision-Engage (OODE) loop.

Among the newest generation acoustic signature analysis systems currently being available is the Sonar Acoustic Post Processing System (SAPPS) for which Array Systems has now built and delivered the fifth software increment to the RSwN’s Underwater Sensors Analysis Centre (MUSAC). The SAPPS incorporates the Scalable Generic Signal Processor (GSP) which has been specifically designed by the Canadians to provide an open architecture enabling the GSP to employ the LINUX operating system and other general-purpose COTS-based hardware components.

The German Bundesamt fuer Wehrtechnik (BWB) procurement agency ordered the open architecture UAAS in January 2004. Now, Array Systems is entering into a critical phase within which the UAAS will be delivered to the Germans during the next several months for follow-on testing, German Navy sources say. The UAAS is the German version of the Generic Post Analysis System (GPAS) technology also found in the Swedish SAPPS for analysing large volumes of underwater acoustic and electromagnetic signature data collected by Type U206A and Type U212A submarine sonars, F 123 (BRANDENBURG class) and F 124 (SACHSEN class) hull-mounted, 6-9 kHz DSQS-23BZ (ASO-90) sonars, and MPA from the Naval Air Wing 3 at Nordholz Naval Air Station (certainly involving the Orion P-3C aircraft now being obtained from the Royal Netherlands Navy). To enable this, the UAAS also has a GSP as an open architecture cluster of parallel general-purpose processors employing the LINUX operating system. When functioning within this configuration, the GSP conducts sonar post-mission analysis and simulation, hyperspectral image processing, and synthetic aperture processing (sonar and radar).

The UAAS which is Array Systems’ Gen III shore-based sonar post analysis system, is building on the proven design of the Towed Array Sonar System (CANTASS) Post Analysis System (PAS) already delivered to the Canadian Navy. The UAAS has evolved from a post analysis system dedicated to a single towed array sonar to a generic shore-based processing system able to detect and classify different sources of underwater acoustic signals, Array Systems say. In doing so, the UAAS as to be fully integrated into the German Navy’s HAM this year, has one central Signal Processor (SP) which acts as the Digital Signal Processor (DSP) server, and four Operator Workstations (OWs). The latter enable the operator to gain access to the UAAS including system control and acoustic data display functions.

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