Atlas Elektronik demonstrates synthetic aperture sonar


Atlas Elektronik says it has successfully demonstrated its synthetic aperture sonar (SAS) in the shallow waters of Portland Harbour in southern England. A SAS-equipped SeaOtter II autonomous underwater vehicle conducted over 10 hours of survey runs mapping various sea bed features, the company says in a media statement.

It adds the Vision SAS system is the result of a dedicated research effort by Atlas Elektronik UK in collaboration with Atlas Elektronik in Germany. “The Vision600 SAS is a demonstration of the continual evolution of sonar technology, which Atlas Elektronik Group is committed to pursue. The Vision family of sonar is designed in a modular manner and by adding additional transducer arrays in different configurations can be adapted to produce wider swath coverage, higher rates of coverage or inferometric bathymetry.”

The system is designed for AUV use with low power consumption, and can be directly interfaced with the MARPOS positioning system on the AUV. Furthermore, the system is controlled through the use of the payload manager in the SeaOtter MK II where it can be co-located and acoustically interfaced with other sensors.

A joint Atlas team from Germany, UK and Denmark (ATLAS MARIDAN) held the demonstrations to UK and foreign military, as well as offshore survey and exploration organisations and companies over the course of three days. Potential Customers from as far afield as Singapore, USA, Nigeria and all around the EU witnessed smooth deployment, flawless mission execution and easy recovery of the AUV in and out of the Atlas Bincleaves waterside facilities, Atlas says.

In addition to the overseas visitors, Dorset Police and UK MoD showed great interest in the demonstration with representatives from DE&S, RN hydrographic unit and RN Fleet UUV team.
“The demonstration showed the great flexibility of both systems, with the installation of the sonar on the AUV taking just two weeks from start and to acceptance test; this being the third different AUV Vision600 has been successfully integrated on. The sonar payload was under-slung on the AUV with no effect to its stability or operational performance, conducting all the survey mission legs at a speed of three knots.” During the various survey tasks the AUV was set it recorded sonar data from a dummy minefield, conducted a route survey operation, and collected data from a number well known wreck within the harbour, including the “Countess of Erne” and the “Himalaya”.

Atlas notes the “quality of the imagery is amongst the best seen from a SAS system anywhere in the world with a 25mm resolution in both long and cross track data” across the 200m wide swath covered by the system.

Pic: Some of the SAS survey data displayed using Atlas’ Classiphi survey toolkit