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04 November 2015

D&S 2015 - SEA's KraitArray - A Low Profile Array for Maritime Applications

UK company SEA is exhibiting its latest KraitArray line array technology during D&S 2015.

KraitArray is a low SWaP ultrathin line array that can be deployed from small vessels including unmanned and autonomous vessels and which overcomes most of the drawbacks of traditional towed arrays, the company insists. Speaking to MT in Bangkok, Andrew S Thomis, chief executive of Cohort Plc, which is SEA's parent company, explained that these conventional arrays, "are big, difficult to handle and expensive", hence the decision to develop "a miniaturized array".

Typical conventional towed arrays measure 50 to 90mm in diameter and are characterized by large drag loading and high power consumption. In contrast, SEA's KraitArray solution is a mere 16 mm in diameter and can easily be integrated with platform and inboard systems making it an ideal tool for rapid deployment according to company officials. Composed of SEA building blocks, KraitArray's typical length is between 15 and 55m, the system having highly sensitive wideband sensing capability using up to 32 miniature integrated acoustic sensors (mIAS).

In what has been called a rapid deployment technology demonstrator programme, KraitArray has undergone numerous trials with the current demo array having clocked up over 30 deployments in 18 months, the company boasts. Deployments included trials in which the low profile array was operated in a static mode lying on the seabed being used to demonstrate the new system's ability to contribute to harbour protection for instance. Other trials have seen KraitArray being deployed vertically or towed from manned, unmanned and autonomous vessels with extended deployments having been conducted in what the company says were "demanding conditions" in both the Atlantic and Pacific. Further long term trials in an open ocean environment are planned including tests in a static vertical mode, and towed from both USVs and UUVs. The system is also set to participate in Unmanned Warrior 2016, an exercise which will coincide with the major, UK led naval exercise Joint Warrior in late next year and during which a wide range of maritime autonomous capabilities will be demonstrated.

SEA, which is the brand name of Systems Engineering & Assessment Ltd, is a provider of specialist electronic systems and part of Cohort Plc, a UK based technology group. A major supplier to the UK MoD, the company's core areas of capability include naval communications, information systems, simulation and training, acoustic sensors and systems, weapons handling and discharge systems, naval EW, research and technical support. Employing 310 personnel at four locations in the UK, SEA also has an overseas presence in Canada and Malaysia and its activities encompass project management; systems, hardware and software engineering; manufacturing and support. Some of the company's communications equipment can be found on board the Royal Navy's current submarines of the Trafalgar and Astute class while recent contracts include the delivery of torpedo launcher systems (TLS) to DSME  for integration with the new Thai navy frigates. Meanwhile, Malaysia's new littoral combat ships will also be equipped with TLS developed by J+S Ltd, which was acquired by Cohort in mid 2014 and then integrated into its  SEA subsidiary.
Pieter Bastiaans

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