Canada-based Geospectrum Technologies, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Elbit Systems Ltd, announced on 1 April the debut of a new and compact version of its Towed Reelable Active Passive Sonar (TRAPS), suitable for unmanned surface vessels (USVs). Designated TRAPS-USV, this lighter-weight variant is designed to fit on almost any size vessel, including patrol boats and USV, while retaining full active sonar acoustic capabilities and providing ground-breaking low-frequency active submarine detection from smaller platforms.

With overall system weight reduced to approx. 40% of the already compact TRAPS, TRAPS-USV allows surface vessels and USV as small as 12m to be equipped with powerful, long-range active sonar anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capability. This enables the USV to conduct ASW operations on the move while conducting independent missions or augmenting manned ASW assets, including opportunities for advanced techniques such as bi-static and multi-static operation.

Similar to its larger sibling, TRAPS-USV is a low-frequency variable depth sonar intended for detection, classification, localisation and tracking of submarines in ASW operations. TRAPS’ advantage is that its projector array is reelable and stows on the winch drum with the receive array and tow cable. This unique feature eliminates the need for a dedicated active over-boarding system, saving weight, space, complexity and cost. Both TRAPS and TRAPS-USV also have the unique capability to exchange active sonar projectors, allowing O-level adaptation of the system to different active sonar frequencies in the 2-10kHz range. The containerised version of TRAPS first went to sea onboard Royal Canadian Navy ships in 2019.

In common with TRAPS, sonar processing for TRAPS-USV is achieved by GeoSpectrum’s sensor-agnostic RecView sonar processing capability, which was designed for remote/distributed operation.

Paul Yeatman, President of GeoSpectrum, commented: “We understand that unmanned systems can and will play a significant role in modern ASW operations and are confident that TRAPS-USV is [a] significant game changer in this respect. TRAPS-USV is yet another step in the TRAPS innovation to provide high performance ASW capabilities in compact form and [at] affordable costs.”

Partners Curtiss-Wright/Indal provide GeoSpectrum with the reduced-weight winch and handling system, according to Yeatman.

Providing significant weight and size savings when compared with its larger predecessor, TRAPS-USV now enables much smaller craft – including USV down to 12m in length – to conduct effective ASW operations. (Photo: GeoSpectrum Technologies)

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