Northrop Grumman Corporation won a $21.5 million subcontract by
Lockheed Martin to manufacture key elements of the Lightweight Wide Aperture Array (LWWAA) fiber-optic acoustic sensor systems
for the fifth and sixth Virginia-class submarines, SSN 778 and 779.
The LWWAA system is a set of large array panels that are
mounted on either side of the submarine, and which provide major sonar
sensor input to the submarine's combat system. Instead of traditional
ceramic hydrophone sensors, the LWWAA uses fiber-optic and laser
technologies to convert a target submarine's acoustic energy in the
water into information that can be used to identify and track it.
"The hydrophone/acoustic modules and onboard electronics we
produce for LWWAA demonstrate how our fiber-optic acoustic systems
expertise can be applied to meet customer needs for high-performance
reliable underwater systems," said Alexis Livanos, vice president and
general manager of Northrop Grumman's Navigation Systems Division. "We
also supplied LWWAA shipsets one through four."