Klein to Produce Synthetic Aperture Sonar
Mitcham Industries, Inc. announced its wholly-owned subsidiary, Klein Marine Systems, Inc. has entered into an agreement with a European defense contractor to jointly upgrade existing technology to create the next generation of synthetic aperture sonar (SAS) systems for commercial and military markets. The new systems will be based on technology developed by each party over the past several years. Financial terms of the arrangement were not disclosed.
Guy Malden, Mitcham Co-CEO, said, "Increasingly, customers require higher resolution images and higher scan rates for certain demanding applications. SAS is one way to achieve this. In fact, for certain projects, SAS is a specified technology."
A form of sonar in which sophisticated post-processing of sonar data are used, SAS combines a number of acoustic pings to form an image with much higher along-track resolution than conventional sonars. The along-track resolution can approach half the length of one sonar element, though is downward limited by 1/4 wavelength. The principle of SAS is to move the sonar while illuminating the same spot on the sea floor with several pings. When moving along a straight line, those pings that have the image position within the beamwidth constitutes the synthetic array. By coherent reorganization of the data from all the pings, a synthetic aperture image is produced with improved along-track resolution. In contrast to conventional side-scan sonar, SAS processing provides range-independent along-track resolution. At maximum range the resolution can be magnitudes better than that of side-scan sonars.
"We believe that by partnering with this major European defense contractor that has recognized expertise in marine acoustic technology, and by leveraging both our previous developments, we will be able to bring solutions to the market much more quickly," Malden said. "We also think this will significantly increase the addressable market for our Klein sonar solutions."
Malden said the partners intend to provide SAS systems for both towed body and autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) configurations.
"We expect to make more information available, including expected availability, in the coming weeks and months," Malden said.