See what Substructure does with SONAR technology here.

SONAR – an abbreviation for “Sound, Navigation, And Ranging” – can be passive or active.  A passive SONAR system consists of a sound receiver, signal processor, and display unit; an active SONAR system adds a sound transmitter.  (In some active systems the sound transmitter and sound receiver are combined into a component referred to as a “transducer” or “echo sounder.”)  A SONAR operation sometimes is referred to as “sounding.”

A passive SONAR system listens, processes, and displays detected sound, while an active system also creates pulses of sound (often called “pings”) and transmits them into the water. When transmitted sound waves strike objects or surfaces, they rebound or echo.  As echoes strike the SONAR receiver, they are converted back into electrical signals, amplified by the receiver, processed, and sent to a display unit.  Pulses of sound can be created electronically with a SONAR “projector” (a signal generator, power amplifier, and electro-acoustic transducer), with mechanical or air driven equipment, and with explosives.

To determine the distance to an object (called “echo sounding”), the time from transmission of a pulse of sound to the reception of that pulse’s echo is measured and used to calculate the range (the speed of sound in water is approximately 4,800 feet per second).  See Single-Beam SONAR.

Single-Beam SONAR

Single-beam echo sounding – often referred to as “traditional SONAR” – has existed for more than 50 years.  Confidence in the technology is often misplaced, however.  There normally is no […]

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Side-Scan SONAR

Side-scan SONAR was developed to address the limitations of single-beam SONAR. Side-scan SONAR, like a single-beam echo sounder, transmits sound energy and analyzes the strength of the return signal (echo), […]

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Multibeam SONAR

Multibeam (or swath) SONAR – a significant advance over side-scan SONAR – employs a multitude of individual SONAR beams to ensonify the seafloor.  Multibeam SONAR systems provide fan-shaped coverage of […]

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