Darpa announced today that it’s successfully tested two bleeding-edge methods of detecting quiet submarines lost under the ocean depths. One relies on distributed sensors at the bottom of the ocean floor to locate the subs. The other sends an aquatic robot to hunt them. They’re both part of an effort called Distributed Agile Submarine Hunting, or DASH, and they’re not even the sum total of Darpa’s anti-submarine warfare programs.
One aspect of DASH is a series of drop-and-forget sonar devices, called the Transformational Reliable Acoustic Path System, or TRAPS. (Darpa likes functional acronyms, and presumably the music of T.I.) Each TRAP is a fixed, passive sonar node, designed to plop on the sea floor and communicate back to a floating “stationary surface node” through a wireless acoustic modem when something that sounds like a sub churns past.