The University of Texas at Austin Research Unit Receives Navy Contract That Could Reach $928 Million

AUSTIN, Texas—Applied Research Laboratories, a research unit of The University of Texas at Austin (ARL:UT), has received a contract that could reach as much as $928 million by the end of its 10-year term to conduct research and development for the U.S. Navy.

It is one of the largest multiyear contracts awarded to The University of Texas at Austin.

ARL:UT’s total funding for the past 10 years was $583 million, most of it coming from the Navy.

ARL:UT has been a prime developer of sonar and acoustic equipment for the Navy for  much of the unit’s 62-year history. Clark Penrod, director of ARL:UT, said almost every piece of high-frequency, high-resolution sonar equipment used by the Navy has either been developed or tested by ARL:UT.

“We are proud of the confidence shown in ARL:UT by the Navy with this new contract,” Penrod said. “And we are confident we can continue to deliver the research and development required to help keep the Navy on the cutting edge.”

The contract is with the Naval Sea Systems Command, known as NAVSEA.

Accounting for nearly one-fifth of the Navy's budget, NAVSEA manages more than 150 acquisition programs and has 33 activities in 16 states. With a force of 53,000 civilian, military and contract support personnel, NAVSEA engineers, builds, buys and maintains the Navy's ships and submarines and their combat systems.

Projects under the contract will be funded incrementally to the contract's ceiling of $928 million.

“They’ve been doing great work. The technical sponsors of the work want them back,” said David Sevillo, a NAVSEA official. “ARL has been involved with global positioning systems (GPS) for years and submarine sonar work, they’re specialized in that.”

The types of programs that will be funded via this contract are:

  • New, high-resolution sonar to enable submarines to navigate safely while submerged and to avoid obstacles and sea mines;
  • High-resolution sonars to enable inspection of the hull of a ship for attached devices such as explosives;
  • New antenna technology for radio communications;
  • Improved signal processing for acoustic detection and tracking of submarines;
  • Improved technology for satellite navigation and GPS;
  • Improved swimmer detection sonars for security of waterside facilities;
  • Studies in artificial intelligence technology in support of national security such as investigation of trends to predict terrorist attacks and cyber attacks.

ARL:UT is an organized research unit that reports to the vice president for research, and it has been associated with the university since 1946.

Throughout its 62-year history, ARL:UT  has made many contributions to the application of advanced technology to address problems in national security. It has also made important contributions to the university’s educational mission by providing many students with valuable work experience that has helped to shape the students’ careers in science and engineering.

ARL:UT employs about 300 scientists and engineers and has between 100-150 students working there at any time.

The funding received via this contract will support research and development programs at ARL:UT, including staff and student salaries, purchases of equipment and services, fabrication and delivery of prototypes, testing, travel and other expenditures associated with these programs.  In addition, a dollar invested in research at The University of Texas at Austin results in a multiplier of $5.50 in direct and indirect economic activity, according to an economic impact study the university conducted in 2005.

For more information contact: Tim Green, Office of the Vice President for Research, 512-475-6596.