UDT Europe: New Towed Acoustic Projector System for DST
The Australian Department of Defence’s Defence Science and Technology (DST) group has acquired a new Towed Acoustic Projector System (TAPS) from GeoSpectrum Technologies to improve its underwater acoustic research capabilities.
At less than 900kg, the TAPS is significantly smaller and lighter than the 10 tonne sonar research projector system (SRP) previously used by DST for work that requires the transmission of sound waves underwater for sonar research.
This allows the system to be used by a wider variety of vessels for operational flexibility. The TAPS winch, launch and recovery system and associated equipment can be easily moved with a forklift, transported in a standard trailer and rapidly installed on a vessel.
Both the TAPS and SRP systems require the acoustic transducers to be towed by a cable through the water as they transmit acoustic signals representative of different maritime objects such as submarines, torpedos and boats.
While the SRP tow body incorporates the entire frequency range (50 Hz to 10 kHz) in its single 640kg unit, TAPS has five interchangeable 20 kg fibreglass ‘V-wing’ tow-bodies, each fitted with an acoustic transducer that covers a smaller frequency range.
Defence researcher Phil Jackson, DST, said: ‘We found in practice that very rarely do we need the entire frequency range at once, normally just a subset, so we made the design compromise of having to swap tow-bodies for a lighter system that is logistically much easier to manage.
‘It only takes 15 minutes to reel a tow-body in and swap it, not an onerous requirement.’
The system was acquired from Canadian subsea detection specialists GeoSpectrum Technologies under a tender process, with assistance from Defence Research and Development Canada.
Training for the TAPS system has now begun for DST personnel.