Fiber-Optic Acoustic Sensors

Fiber-Optic Acoustic Sensors (FOAS)

Northrop Grumman has applied its expertise in fiber-optic technology to develop a line of Fiber-Optic Acoustic Sensors (FOAS). FOAS originated in 1981 as part of a major effort to develop both fiber-optic gyroscope and fiber-optic hydrophone sensor technologies. This effort, which has required investment of over $140 million, has established Northrop Grumman as the world leader in optical acoustic sensor technology and exclusive manufacturer of Department of Defense fiber-optic acoustic sensor array systems.

FOAS Description and Capabilities

The arrays themselves comprise only passive fiber-optic elements, and contain very few parts and no electronics. One remote transmit/receive station houses all the necessary optoelectronics. The data are transmitted on a few single mode fibers, over distances of more than 100 kilometers.

Northrop Grumman can produce fiber-optic acoustic sensor arrays for a variety of applications. Northrop Grumman builds three FOAS systems: hull arrays like the Light Weight Wide Aperture Array (LWWAA) currently on USS Virginia-Class Submarines, towed arrays for submarine and other applications, and fixed bottom arrays for deep ocean and shallow/littoral water surveillance.