Foward Looking Navigational Sonar

gCaptain brings us a short “sponsored” post about “Safely Navigating Polar Regions.” This is essentially an advertisement for the company, FarSounder, but that is not necessarily all bad. The products are reported to be able to identify navigational hazards in 3D out to 1000 meters at speeds up to 25 knots.

I am not endorsing this particular product. There are probably other vendors offering similar products, but a forward-looking navigational sonar sounds like a good idea for any vessel, such as Offshore Patrol Vessels, that may frequently be called upon to go close in shore for SAR, marine environmental protection, or for interdiction,

FarSounder has fourteen dealers in the US, so it can’t be that exotic.

For icebreakers there is a retractable version.

The Argos 1000 Transducer Module is housed in a retractable steal pod with integrated cover-plate. When retracted, the cover-plate sits flush with the hull and is reinforced for protection during ice-breaking.

Two of the ships reportedly using this system are pictured below. 

Polar cruise ship Le Commandant Charcot

RRS Sir David Attenborough. Proto from Rolls-Royce

10 thoughts on “Foward Looking Navigational Sonar

    • I think it is about the quality of the presentation and purpose. The National Security Cutters do have a small forward-looking sonar, but it may be 2D. Getting discrimination of depth in addition to bearing and range adds a level of precision.

  1. For a small boat travelling a 25kts ~1,000-meters is ~77-seconds reaction time to avoid whatever! But a larger vessel travelling at the same speed!/? I very much doubt that whoever at the wheel would be able to react fast enough once to voice command or emergency avoidance klaxon sounded off of an imminent collision of whatever it’s about to hit…

    • Certainly, you have to know your ship. There is also the fact that turning away may be faster than stopping if you know there is that alternative. Most of us would not be going 25 knots in unfamiliar shallow water anyway.

      • Gas Turbine equipped ships with controllable pitch propellers can stop in surprisingly distances. Fast enough to cause injuries among the crew is done without warning.

      • The “Independence” class LCS can make a Bootleg Turn within is own ships length, the “Freedom” class LCS can’t. How many Large Ships have a retractable azimuthing thruster located on the underside of their ships…

      • How likely is a large ship like a Container Ship traveling at 25kts to simply turn on a dime like a speed boat 20 or 35-feet long is able to do. Even with the aid of Bow Thrusters I very much doubt that any bow thruster could churn enough water through it to push the bow away from the submerged threat…

      • Good seaman know and respect the limits of their ships. That some ships may not be able to use all the capabilities of a sensor does not mean those capabilities are not useful for a different ship.

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