A new sonar that can discriminate between divers and sea mammals is the first practical warning system available for ships and port installations that can guard against intruders and underwater terrorist attacks
[ClickPress, Tue Jun 05 2007] Sonardyne International Ltd has introduced a new diver detection sonar to counter the threat of underwater attacks against ships, harbours, coastal industrial installations and offshore oil platforms. The new Sentinel Intruder Detection Sonar (IDS) is being unveiled today at the Underwater Defence Technology exhibition and conference in Naples, Italy.
Sonardyne is well known as a leading manufacturer of subsea acoustic positioning, navigation and communications systems. The company’s introduction of Sentinel follows a major investment in engineering and acoustic technology to create the world’s smallest and best performing underwater intruder detection sonar.
With a sonar head measuring just 44 cm tall by 33 cm diameter, the Sentinel sonar array is considerably smaller than any other system currently available. It nevertheless provides a full 360 degrees of coverage and is capable of reliably detecting underwater targets up to 800 metres away. Weighing less than 30 kg, the compact system is ideal for expeditionary operation as it is easily palletised and rapidly deployed. The system can be deployed in many different ways, including over the vessel’s side, mounted rigidly or on the seabed in a frame.
The practicality of Sentinel’s design makes it a realistic option for protecting a wide range of maritime assets. The extreme vulnerability of expeditionary warfare units in overseas ports can be significantly reduced by a Sentinel system that can also be used to protect any fixed installation with a water perimeter. This includes most of the world’s valuable oil and gas refineries, liquefied natural gas terminals and power stations. With many of these facilities already deploying conventional terrestrial security systems, including thermal imaging, radar and ground sensing devices, Sentinel now closes the defensive circle against intruders.
The reliable detection of underwater targets and their discrimination from marine mammals is a notoriously difficult problem. Sentinel overcomes this challenge by combining state-of-the-art sonar technology, commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) processing units and automated detection, classification and tracking software. This has been proved in extensive trials over the past year to confirm a system that can work in a wide range of difficult acoustic underwater environments while ensuring that only genuine threats are highlighted. This minimises false alarms and reduces the dangerous tension that these can generate.
Sentinel’s unique configuration allows it to operate in stand-alone mode or networked with multiple sonar heads linked into a Command and Control (C2) system. As part of a comprehensive Anti-Terrorism/Force Protection afloat (ATFP) asset, Sentinel’s early warning capability will enable operators to deploy effective counter measures against underwater intruders in good time.
Sonardyne believes that any system that bombards an unskilled operator with confusing data and false alarms will soon be ignored so the operation of Sentinel is clear and intuitive. Because it is unlikely to be operated by trained sonar technicians, Sentinel has been designed for ease of use through the combination of advanced algorithms and a simple user interface.
Commenting on the launch of Sentinel, Rob Balloch strategic development director for Sonardyne said, "Sentinel is the first of a new generation of maritime security products to be released by Sonardyne. We have brought together many of the leading experts in their specialised disciplines to develop the unique technology that can deliver trusted solutions to the customer in the most challenging underwater conditions such as noisy, shallow harbours. We have listened to what the customers really wanted from a diver detection system and believe Sentinel is the first practical, cost-effective solution to the threat presented by underwater intruders."
Press enquiries contact:, Paul Eastaugh PEMS Marine & Offshore PR
tel: +44 (0)118 934 1101
Sales enquiries contact: Rob Balloch
Sonardyne International Ltd,
Blackbushe Business Park, Yateley, Hampshire, GU46 6GD, UK
Tel: +44 (0) 1252 872288
Fax: +44 (0)1252 876100