Sonar sale

QinetiQ has signed a contract worth £500,000 for the supply and integration of wideband synthetic aperture sonar equipment (SAS) to Saab Underwater Systems in Sweden.

The long range, high resolution seabed imaging and profiling sonar will be fitted to an autonomous underwater vehicle (AU) and forms part of an underwater capability that Saab are developing for FMV, the Swedish Defence Material Administration.

The sale represents the first commercial sale by QinetiQ sale of SAS equipment and builds on years of work developing high resolution sonar for the Royal Navy.

Synthetic aperture sonar enables the provision of high resolution underwater pictures where the resolution is not affected by range. With conventional sidescan sonar systems, resolution reduces with range. This means that high resolution pictures can only be obtained at short ranges and with the use of high frequencies. QinetiQ’s SAS can achieve 2.5cm azimuth resolution at ranges of over 200m from an underwater vehicle moving at up to 4 knots.

The equipment being supplied under contract consists of the sonar arrays and the associated electronics to drive the arrays, collect the data and store it for subsequent processing. The arrays will be constructed from advanced composite ceramic materials which QinetiQ has played a key part in developing for use in sonar systems. Sonars constructed from these materials and based on development work carried out by QinetiQ are now going into service in the Royal Navy’s mine hunting fleet.