Marine Link
Tuesday, February 7, 2023


Sonar is a technique that uses sound to navigate, communicate with or detect other vessels, and to observe the distance and velocity of underwater objects. The acoustic frequencies used vary from extremely low (infrasonic) to very high (ultrasonic). The word “sonar” also describes the equipment used to gather and analyze acoustic information. Sonar is used in depth sounding, fish finding, seafloor mapping, Doppler navigation, and acoustic location systems for divers. The term for the scientific study of underwater sound is hydroacoustics.

Three types of technology are categorized as "sonar":

  1. Passive sonar uses receiving sensors to listen for and analyze the sound made by vessels
  2. Active sonar uses an acoustic projector to emit pulses of sounds and a receiver which detects the echoes to find the range, bearing and relative motion
  3. Acoustic communication systems use a projector and receiver at both ends of the acoustic path

Sonar was first proposed as a means of detecting icebergs, but government interest in and funding of sonar systems did not take off until World War I highlighted the threat posed by submarine warfare. Modern technological innovations have included rapid-scanning and side-scan sonar, the echo sounder (or depth detector,) and within-pulse electronic sector scanning sonar (or WPESS). Military uses of sonar include systems used in acoustic homing torpedoes, in acoustic mines and mine detection.

Tags: Sonar

Image courtesy Greensea

Greensea Launches OPENSEA Edge

Designed for military use but now available commercially, OPENSEA Edge is designed…

(Photo: Joseph Pol Sebastian Gocong / U.S. Navy)

Vigor Begins Work on USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53)

Vigor, a Titan company, has been awarded a $131 million U.S. Navy contract to complete…

(Photo: SAFE Boats International)

SAFE Boats Delivers Survey Vessel for Maritime Autonomy Provider Mythos AI

Bremerton, Wash. shipbuilder SAFE Boats International announced a production partnership…

Credit: Remontowa Shipyard via Saltwater Stone

Kongsberg to Equip Three Polish Navy Warships with Hugin AUVs

Norway's Kongsberg Maritime has secured a contract award with Polish shipbuilder…

(Image: Kongsberg Maritime)

Kongsberg Maritime Launches ScanFuse Powered by Qii.AI

Kongsberg Maritime’s Sensors and Robotics Division has released ScanFuseTMpowered by Qii.AI…

HMS Quorn - Defence Imagery via Wikimedia Commons - OGL v1.0 License

Harland & Wolff to Restore HMS Quorn Mine-hunter

Harland & Wolff's Appledore site in the UK's southwest has won a £55 million (around…

ABT-TRAC, WESMAR and SmartCatch Form INOV8V Marine

Roger Fellows, owner of Western Marine Electronics (WESMAR), Arcturus Marine Systems (ABT-TRAC)…

Image courtesy eTrac, a Woolpert Company

USACE Galveston Taps eTrac for $13M Hydrographic Surveying, Mapping Contract

The shared capacity, indefinite delivery contract will support USACE Civil Works…

Image courtesy Farsounder

Farsounder Recommends Propspeed FoulFree for Sonar Transducers

Propspeed, an innovator of underwater foul-release coatings, received an endorsement…

The General Dynamics Mission Systems Bluefin Robotics Knifefish UUV detects, classifies and identifies volume, proud and buried mines in high-clutter underwater environments, and is a critical element of the LCS Mine Countermeasure (MCM) mission package. Knifefish’s job is to detect, avoid and identify mine threats, reducing the risk to personnel by operating in the minefield as an off-board sensor while the host ship stays outside the minefield boundaries. Knifefish also gathers environmental d

Getting to the Bottom of the Navies' Mine Warfare Challenges

To find the mine warfare challenge with the highest degree of difficulty, start at…

Credit: Kongsberg Maritime

Kongsberg Maritime's Sonar and Navigation Package for Norwegian and German Navies' Type 212CD Subs

Kongsberg Maritime's active sonar suite and bottom navigation technology has been…

(Photo: FarSounder)

FarSounder Turns 20

This year marks two decades that FarSounder has been dedicated to developing its…

Related Articles


Sonar is a technique that uses sound to navigate, communicate with or detect other vessels, and to observe the distance and velocity of underwater objects. The acoustic frequencies used vary from extremely low (infrasonic) to very high (ultrasonic).

Maritime Standards

All nations require certain standards be met by ships and other marine structures which fly their flag. A classification society, or "Class", is a non-governmental regulatory association which regulates construction of vessels and offshore structures in the maritime industry.


Modern pipelines are installed with and other control devices (pumps and valves) to efficiently move liquids, gases, slurries (solid particulates in liquid suspension) and even solids. Pipelines usually consist of welded sections of metal pipe…

Maritime Security

Maritime Security is a term which applies to a large variety of technology, devices, and operations both on deck and on shore. It can mean the simple measures used by boat owners and operators to protect individuals, vessels, and cargo from theft, sabotage, or piracy.
Marine News takes a deep dive into the U.S. offshore wind industry, where stakeholders across the supply chain—on land and at sea—can expect a raft of new challenges and opportunities.
Read the Magazine

Insights: Brendan Smith, President, Seaward Services

Tech Files: Offshore Wind

Subscribe for
Maritime Reporter E-News

Maritime Reporter E-News is the maritime industry's largest circulation and most authoritative ENews Service, delivered to your Email five times per week