High Speed (15 kts) Long-Length Fiber Optic Deployment System

Period of Performance: 06/20/2005 - 12/20/2005


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Tethers Unlimited, Inc.
11711 N. Creek Pkwy S., Suite D113 Array
Bothell, WA 98011
Principal Investigator


Tethers Unlimited, Inc. (TUI) proposes to develop a compact Underwater Tether Deployment (UTD) System designed to provide an optical fiber link for two-way communication between a submarine and a communication buoy. To minimize tension forces on the fiber optic, the UTD System will utilize two deployment spools, one at each end of the cable, thus enabling long lengths to be deployed at high velocities. In developing the UTD, TUI will draw upon its prior experience in the design, development and testing of tether deployment systems for space and terrestrial applications. Additionally, we will utilize our unique computerized pirn-winding machine to wind fiber optic packages that deploy at very low tensions and with zero residual twist. These design approaches will minimizes the impact that the high-speed underwater deployment has upon the integrity of a fiber optic link. The deployer will be compatible with the three-inch submarine launcher and will be designed to maximize the length of fiber that can be stored on the payout spools. The prototypes will be tested first in a water tank and then in an open water marine environment to validate the design and demonstrate its performance.