New Wave Media

March 7, 2024

Teledyne Integrating the Kongsberg EK80 WBT Mini Into Its Slocum Gliders

Renderings of forward pressure vessel and flooded wet bay that houses the EK80 electronics and transducers. (Image: Teledyne Marine)

Renderings of forward pressure vessel and flooded wet bay that houses the EK80 electronics and transducers. (Image: Teledyne Marine)

Teledyne Marine and Kongsberg Discovery are working together to integrate the Kongsberg EK80 WBT Mini Scientific echo sounder onto the Teledyne Slocum G3s Glider.

The energy-efficient Kongsberg EK80 WBT Mini is a compact version of the Wide Band Transceiver (WBT), used by marine research vessels worldwide to identify and quantify a wide range of targets such as fish, plankton, bubbles, oil droplets, and physical oceanographic features such as turbulence.

The Slocum Glider is the world’s most prolific autonomous gliding platform, a subsea vehicle that uses changes in buoyancy to efficiently move through the water, allowing it to persistently monitor the ocean water column for months at a time, and transmit gathered data shoreside via an iridium satellite connection.  Slocum Gliders are used across a wide-ranging set of missions, including deployments serving Oceanographers, Fisheries, Energy Producers, and Military customers.

Rendering of Teledyne Slocum G3s Glider with Kongsberg WBT Mini EK80 Integration (Image: Teledyne Marine)

The EK80 integration on the Slocum houses the WBT Mini electronics in a pressure vessel forward of the glider’s buoyancy engine, behind the nose sonar dome. Two transducers are mounted in a flooded wet bay between this pressure vessel and the glider’s forward section. Users are offered transducer frequency options of 120kHz / 200kHz or 200kHz / 333 kHz, either upward or downward facing.

The combination of these technologies allows for long term data gathering of acoustic target density and dispersal throughout the water column of a specified area. It allows users to understand how changes in climate, environment or human-driven factors affect a water mass’s ecology, especially when combined with other available sensing options on the glider that collect biogeochemical and physical ocean data.

Teledyne said it has previously installed the EK80 onto its Slocum glider on a project basis for multiple customers with great early success. The University of Alaska Fairbanks’ glider, Gretel, has been deployed several times with the EK80 gathering valuable data for fisheries research. This collaborative effort provides a formal and streamlined integration. Sales of this new echo sounder package have already commenced with scientists at Akvaplan-niva of Norway and the University of Delaware ordering the first units for delivery summer of 2024.

Dr. Tyler Hennon performing final checkout on the University of Alaska’s EK80-enabled Slocum glider Gretel before launch in Resurrection Bay, Alaska. (Photo: Hank Statscewich)

"The integration of the scientific echo sounder EK80 from Kongsberg in the Slocum glider G3 from Teledyne will allow harvesting unique data to describe the biological structure and functioning of the pelagic ecosystem across depths,” said Lionel Camus, Manager Digital Solutions of Akvaplan-niva, “Akvaplan 's marine scientists are excited to have their Slocum G3 rigged with the echo sounder together with the underwater vision profiler (UVP6) with the particular aim to study the 'super swarm' of Calanus finmarchicus inhabiting the Norwegian Sea. Further, this new feature will open new applications in marine sciences,".

“I think the integration of this technology is going to significantly enhance the ability of Slocum Gliders to do cutting edge research,” added Dr. Matt Oliver, Professor of Marine Science and Policy at University of Delaware.

“Kongsberg Discovery is excited to announce the integration of the EK80 scientific echo sounder into the Teledyne Slocum Glider, enabling collection of long-term data sets of acoustic scattering, and other environmental variables, for academic, military, and commercial applications. This collaboration between Kongsberg Discovery and Teledyne Marine provides a unique and critical solution for gathering high-resolution data at depth,” said Scott Loranger – Acoustician and Applications Scientist at Kongsberg Discovery. “By bringing the high resolution, high frequency echo sounders deep under water, we will be able to identify, classify, and quantify a wide range of targets out of the reach of traditional shipboard echo sounders.”

“We at Teledyne are extremely excited to introduce the Kongsberg EK80 as a formal sensor offering on the Slocum Glider,” said Shea Quinn, Product Line Manager of the Slocum Glider at Teledyne Marine, “The Slocum provides a unique new platform for EK80 users to gather long-term echo sounder data throughout the water column at a lower price point than traditional research vessels.  Combining the EK80 with other sensor offerings on the Slocum will allow users to gain a unique and comprehensive understanding of their areas of operation,”.

The February 2024 edition of Marine Technology Reporter is focused on Oceanographic topics and technologies.
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