The challenges faced by the U.S. Navy today are very different from those faced at the end of the Cold War nearly two decades ago. An increasing number of diesel-electric submarines are being operated by a growing number of nations worldwide. Due to the advancement and use of quieting technologies in undersea platforms, threats faced by the U.S. Navy are becoming increasingly difficult to locate using the passive acoustic technologies that were effective during the Cold War. The range at which U.S. anti-submarine (ASW) assets are able to identify submarine threats is decreasing and at the same time improvements in torpedo design are extending the effective
weapons range of those same threats (Benedict, 2005).
To meet this long range submarine detection need, the U.S. Navy has
investigated the use of a broad spectrum of acoustic and non-acoustic
technologies. Of the technologies evaluated, low frequency active sonar is the only system capable of meeting the U.S. Navy's long-range ASW detection needs. SURTASS LFA sonar is providing a quantifiable improvement in the Navy's undersea detection capability and improving the survivability of U.S. forces by extending the amount of time that naval forces have to react to potential threats.