Defense contractor Raytheon (NYSE:RTN) has been awarded a subcontract for its fifth- generation hull-mounted sonar system from fellow defense firm SAIC (UNKNOWN:SAI.DL).

The award, which Raytheon announced Tuesday, is part of the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's Anti-Submarine Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel program, an initiative designed in response to the growing use of submarines by militaries worldwide.

According to Raytheon, SAIC will use the company's Modular Scalable Sonar System (MS3) as part of its experimental trimaran vessel in order to provide search, tracking, and other features, all without a human at the controls. MS3 is also designed to handle tasks such as torpedo detection and avoidance, small object avoidance, and other antisubmarine warfare activities.

Joe Biondi, Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems' vice president of advanced technology, was quoted as saying, "Historically, manned sonars were central to anti-submarine warfare missions. However, the growing number of submarines traversing the world's oceans makes this model unsustainable. ... By leveraging Raytheon's heritage in developing undersea sensors, MS3 can be configured to provide the capabilities required for ASW in an autonomous environment."

The press release did not provide a dollar figure for the subcontract.