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Tactical Oceanography

The world’s oceans represent a challenging domain for active and passive maritime Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) sonar systems to operate effectively.   The operational performance of these systems is affected by environmental parameters in both shallow and deep water.  These acoustic and oceanographic factors include variable ocean temperature, salinity and sound speed structures, multiple sea bed interactions of the transmitted acoustic energy, highly variable directional noise fields, strong coastal currents, ocean surface and volume loss and scatter effects, as well as internal waves and tides. 

Accurate and timely four-dimensional sensor performance predictions and asset allocation & optimization recommendations can mitigate some of the negative impact of the environment on sonar detection ranges.  There are trade-offs and assumptions made by modern computer-based ASW tactical decision aids to deliver the most accurate environmental information balanced by the need to deliver these data in tactical time frames useful to the ASW mission planner and sonar operator at sea.

APS resources support OPNAV N84, CNMOC, and SPAWAR PMW-120 in the management and improvement of the underlying acoustic models and environmental databases utilized in these tactical decision aides through the Tactical Oceanographic Capabilities for Undersea Warfare (TOC/USW) project and the Sensor Optimization Working Group.

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