Tethered Antennas for Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUVs)

Period of Performance: 10/27/2008 - 08/27/2009


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Adaptive Methods, Inc.
5860 Trinity Parkway Array
Centreville, VA 20120
Principal Investigator


When submerged, unmanned undersea vehicles (UUVs) have difficulty with navigation and communication: inertial navigation systems can be used but they are subject to drift the longer the unit remains below; communications are limited to low bandwidth acoustics or wiring back to another vessel or shore platform. A tethered antenna system which allowed RF antennas to remain above water but connected to a UUV below could provide a bi-directional, high data rate link to a nearby vessel or shore platform as well as GPS coordinate data for more precise navigation. A concept and implementation plan for a buoyant, tethered antenna system is discussed in this proposal. Key features include a hydro-dynamically stable surface platform with minimal drag and weight for RF antennas, low cost commercial electronics providing 802.11 wireless communications and GPS data to the UUV, and a strong yet small, lightweight tethered cable capable of reeling the system between the UUV and the surface.