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06:59 AM, October 27, 2015

Erapsco Inc. has been awarded a $179 million contract for up to 136,500 Sonobuoys of various types to track submarines, the Defense Department announced Monday.

The biodegradable tubes gather data – sometimes to locate submarines, other times to monitor water temperatures or fish migration – and transmit it to aircraft, ships or satellites.

The order exercises an option from a previously announced defense contract. The work is expected to be completed in October 2017.

A sonobuoy is a device used to detect and identify objects moving in the water. Typically, a sonobuoy is used to detect submarines by either listening for the sounds produced by propellers and machinery (passive detection) or by bouncing a sonar "ping" off the surface of the submarine (active detection). Multi-static techniques are also used for submarine detection and localization. Multi-static operations utilize separate active source and passive receiver sonobuoys.

Sonobuoys are generally dropped from aircraft that are equipped with a means to launch them, and electronic equipment to receive and process data sent by the sonobuoy, although they can be deployed from virtually any sea platform.

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