Northrop to help DARPA use undersea organisms for underwater sensing

The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Biological Technology Office has partnered with Northrop Grumman for the development of prototype sensing capabilities that would use undersea organisms to detect and track undersea threats.

Photo: DARPA

The program is also known as Persistent Aquatic Living Sensors (PALS) and seeks to find a way to tap into sea life and help the US Navy monitor the world’s oceans more efficiently.

As part of the PALS program, Northrop Grumman will develop biological sensing hardware that has increased sensitivity for certain sensor modalities, achieving greater range.

Artificial intelligence will be applied to observe patterns in the marine environment to help classify targets. Northrop Grumman is partnered with Coda Octopus, Duke University, University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the University of Memphis.

“The detection, classification and tracking of undersea objects is a critical military capability and we are excited to work with DARPA to develop this next generation approach,” said Mike Meaney, vice president, advanced missions, Northrop Grumman.