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Pier Inspection and Berth Clearance

M3 Sonar
Pole-mounted M3 Sonar on a dual-axis rotator.

Underwater Improvised Explosive Devices (UIEDs) pose many challenges for those military and homeland security forces tasked with search and deactivation of these devices. M3 MultiMode Multibeam Sonar enables faster and safer clearance operations compared to traditional MCM methods. M3 Multimode Multibeam sonar combines the capability of multiple sonar heads into a single compact housing by performing tasks normally performed by three distinctly different types of sonar: profiling sonar, imaging sonar, and side scan sonar.

Profiling sonar software produces 3D point cloud representations of the seabed which can be readily interpreted by non-technical operators. Imaging sonar representations, while not as intuitive as 3D point cloud representations, provide a higher level of detail and are more effective when directing divers and searching vertical surfaces. M3 side-imaging sonar is preferred for detecting objects lying on the seabed when searching larger areas.

Faster and Safer

Operations are faster and safer than manual diver searches, reducing risk and saving time and labour. The initial search can be completed prior to dive team mobilization with targets and potential hazards located before the first diver enters the water. Dive time and associated risk can be substantially reduced. Sweeps for Berth Clearance can be undertaken at a range of speeds from 0 to 2.0 knots, depending on the mission requirements and conditions. The ability to link sub metre GPS positioning data with sonar images enables sonar operators to geo-reference marked targets in real time. Following preliminary identification and localization, these electronically marked targets are reacquired later for classification and neutralization by EOD divers or other means. All data is normally displayed in real time.

Seabead profiling
Profiling data of seabed.


The team onboard a patrol vessel can quickly switch to directing a diver or ROV to suspicious targets after completing a search. The sonar head is oriented differently for downward profiling, forward imaging and side imaging. Deploying the M3 sonar for this application requires a pole mount and rotator. Pole mount deployment provides a sturdy reliable means of deploying the system for all phases of UIED clearance operations. Small vessels with pole mounted side imaging sonar can readily survey confined harbour areas and shallows inaccessible to tow fish operations. M3 sonar can also be deployed on a variety of platforms including ROVs which further increases its utility in other phases of UIED operations.

M3 sonar processing software supports a variety of applications, provides higher resolution sonar imagery, 3D cloud point profiling, dual head synchronization, and expanded data processing and data export capabilities. Electronic records of the search can be saved for review, documentation or training purposes.

Seabed side imaging mosaic.

Easy to use

Pre-set sonar configurations simplify operations and make it easier to switch from one sonar mode to another. A Kongsberg dual axis (pan & tilt) rotator is used to change and adjust the sonar head orientation enabling the sonar head to be quickly re-tasked with a few key strokes while it remains in the water. Kongsberg software enables the helmsman to layout survey lines for the search and to maintain course for the search. Data inputs from GPS and motion reference units (MRU) simplify pier inspection operations and data interpretation by recording vessel position with sub-metre accuracy and compensating for vessel motion.

Vertical pier wall imaging mosaic.

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