Fat Line Tow Cable

Period of Performance: 09/19/2016 - 09/19/2018


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Texas Research Institute Austin, Inc.
9063 Bee Caves Road Array
Austin, TX 78733
Firm POC
Principal Investigator


The TB-16 sonar tow cable serves a towing function and also contains sensor communication lines. The Light Weight Tow Cable (LWTC), which contains high-performance polymer fiber reinforcement, has significant advantages over the alternative heavy weight tow cable (HWTC) that is reinforced with steel fibers. The LWTC provides enhanced capabilities in shallow towing and long scope lengths for ideal performance in littoral waters. While the LWTC provides these advantages, it suffers from significant durability issues. The LWTC performs well in tension, but compression loads can cause buckling and damage to the sensitive data transmission lines. The Phase I team developed a stiffened medium weight tow cable (MWTC) having a substantial increase in buckling resistance with a minimal increase in cable weight. Puncture and cut resistance was also improved. During the Phase II effort TRI/Austin will continue development of the MWTC materials and processes that were investigated in Phase I. Test results from Phase I and Phase I Option cable prototypes will be used to refine the cable design and evaluate additional performance properties, including the ability to terminate the cable into existing hardware. Prototype cable will be produced for extended operational field performance evaluation aboard a US Navy Submarine.