The U.S. Navy is upgrading and expanding undersea training ranges used in anti-submarine warfare training for its air, surface, and submarine forces, the service announced.
The Undersea Warfare Training Ranges (USWTR) include an expansive network of about 600 miles of undersea cables and acoustic sensors that provides a realistic training environment for tracking targets on the surface and subsurface, Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) said.
As part of the multi-increment upgrade plan, officials from the Navy’s Naval Aviation Training Systems and Ranges program office (PMA-205) have already managed the installation of ocean sensor and shore electronics subsystems in an approximately 500-square-nautical mile area off the coast of Florida near Jacksonville.
The PMA-205 program office is responsible for the acquisition of naval aviation training platforms, general training systems, training range instrumentation systems and distributed mission training centers for Navy and Marine Corps pilots, naval flight officers, and aircrew.
“This effort includes complicated deep water range recapitalization and shallow water new construction, which will enable undersea warfare training as well as test and evaluation,” Lt. Cmdr. Paulstephen Chierico, PMA-205 ocean systems team co-lead, said in a statement. “These ranges will be essential to our national security, and will serve our sailors and marines for the next quarter of a century.”
Additional upgrades and capability expansion of previously installed ranges will now take place at existing ranges located in areas of the Pacific and Caribbean Ocean, NAVAIR said.
In August, the Navy announced it awarded a $393 million contract for the Increment II and III of the USWTR upgrade projects to L3Harris Technologies.
“Under Increments II and III, L3Harris will upgrade and replace the previously installed systems at the U.S. Navy’s three other range locations near Hawaii, Bahamas and Southern California,” L3Harris Technologies said.
The undersea warfare ranges are pivotal in challenging Navy platforms and operations, according to one program official.
“This is a critical recapitalization and expansion of our undersea warfare range training capabilities, servicing air, surface, and submarine forces,” said PMA-205 program manager Capt. Lisa Sullivan.
“Each location provides a unique underwater environment required to challenge platform systems and test crew tactics, techniques, and procedures,” she said.