A deep dive into the sonar system
Sonar – more specifically: Sound Navigation And Ranging – is one of ATLAS ELEKTRONIK’s core competencies in hydraulic engineering. The thyssenkrupp Marine Systems subsidiary has over 100 years of experience in this field and many ATLAS products have their foundation in sonar-based technologies. Moreover, sonar solutions are at the heart of the company, because without them the efficient location, identification, classification, and display of underwater objects would not be possible. In the Sonar Center at ATLAS ELEKTRONIK these crucial and innovative technologies are being developed and constantly improved.
Understanding sonar – differentiation and benefits
In contrast to electromagnetic waves, which are used in technologies such as GPS, radio or radar, sound stands out with its special property of propagating under water with considerably less loss. Below the water surface, sonar is therefore the best method of all for creating adequate situational awareness through the generation of situation pictures.
To underline and expand the sonar competencies at ATLAS ELEKTRONIK, the comapany’s Sonar Center was founded at the beginning of 2016. With this step, the sonar-relevant capabilities, which until then had been distributed throughout central engineering, have found a new home all under the same roof.
The Sonar Center
As one of two engineering divisions of ATLAS ELEKTRONIK, the Sonar Center employs about 160 people and focuses on sonar technologies and applications. Ever since the founding phase of the Sonar Center, the topic of “change” has been in the spotlight. In addition to handling matters of technical relevance, it is necessary to constantly review and optimize processes, working methods and procedures.
The Sonar Center at ATLAS ELEKTRONIK is made up of nine departments, which together represent all the specialist disciplines of a sonar functional chain in one area with a flat hierarchy. In the departments specializing in hardware, the focus is on the development of sonar arrays: special hydrophones are designed, electronic assemblies for digitalization and data transfer are developed, mechanical solutions are found, the integration into platforms is elaborated, and prototypes are built, measured and subjected to various environmental testing conditions.
When it comes to processing the digitalized array data, the software departments come into play. With the help of advanced signal processing methods and the processing and visualization of the sonar data, it is ensured that the crew aboard a vessel or submarine receives the right data at the right time in the right form. The signal processing is specialized in various areas of warfare – for submarine applications, anti-submarine warfare and mine hunting.
A common goal
In all departments of the Sonar Center, the common aim is to offer first-class sonar systems based on the latest technologies. For this reason, research and development tasks form an essential part of the activities within the Sonar Center. For instance, new sensor technologies are researched; techniques for data transmission, and IT security measures are evaluated and developed further for sonar applications. Another endeavor is the development of algorithms for the detection, classification and tracking of underwater objects based on adaptive and machine learning methods. These also play a role, as does the creation and implementation of sonar system concepts for future applications.
Further Research and Development: The ACINT Department
Furthermore, a new department for underwater reconnaissance (Acoustic Intelligence, ACINT) was created in recent years, which works closely with the corresponding agencies of the German Navy as the exclusive user of the ATLAS ACINT products. In addition to the processing of sonobuoy data, the field of activity includes the analysis and processing of recorded hydroacoustic signatures, as well as the subsequent storage and utilization of the results in databases for operational missions. A special focus of the department is acoustic underwater communications, which is a key technology for integrating submerged platforms into a networked reconnaissance system.
You want to learn more about ATLAS ELEKTRONIK and the world of hydraulic engineering? Stop by their website and read more about sonar solutions and other innovative products.