ManTech to research sonar systems for the Navy

Employees of ManTech International Corp. of Fairfax, Va., begin work this month on a five-year, $49 million Navy contract to research and test underwater sonar systems for identifying and tracking submarines and ships.

ManTech expects to hire about 40 to 50 engineers, technicians, scientists and other workers globally under the contract with the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division, in Bethesda, said Kenneth J. Farquhar, president of ManTech Systems Engineering Corp.

Some of those workers will be based in Bethesda while others will be located in the District of Columbia, Florida and at Navy locations worldwide, he said.

ManTech had been doing similar work for the Navy under a previous contract that expired. The company has more than 6,000 employees and had 2005 revenue of $980.3 million. About two-thirds of the total revenues are from federal contracts, mostly in defense.

"This is a good win for us because it is consistent with the mission-critical work we do in national security and homeland security," Robert A. Coleman, president and chief operating officer of ManTech.

ManTech will be evaluating and helping to develop acoustic sensors and processing equipment used by the Navy to identify and track submarines and ships. The acoustic devices are used to detect the characteristic sounds of a ship or submarine and to measure differences in those sounds based on various modifications to the vessels. Each vessel, including submarines and ships, produces its own sound signature and the Navy's goal is to maintain up-to-date devices to track those signatures, Farquhar said.

ManTech will perform acoustic sensor and processing systems development, test and evaluation, and surface ship and submarine acoustic measurements. The company said it also will furnish shipboard and land-based infrastructure and facility support and program management.

The technology may be applied to both military and commercial fleets, both underwater and above the water's surface, though Farquhar said details of how it is used are classified. It is used both for U.S. fleets, to assist in modifications to reduce noisiness and improve stealth, and for identifying foreign fleets.

Constant research and development is required because scientists worldwide are always innovating and discovering ways to reduce submarine noise with better propulsion design and improved hull design, Farquhar and Coleman said.

"This is a means to help identify newer threats," Coleman said. "The threats keep evolving and we need to stay on top of them."

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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