ECA Group’s Towed Side Scan Sonar (TOWSCA) successfully completed sea trials in the first quarter of 2017, having been tested in a wide variety of operating conditions, depths and sea states.

The TOWSCA was integrated on the company’s INSPECTOR Mk2 unmanned surface vessel (USV) for the trials, providing the proven vessel with improved shallow- to deep-water survey capability. The deck-mounted sonar is deployed via a launch and recovery system (LARS), with a depth capability of up to 100m, according to the company. The LARS incorporates an automatic altitude maintenance mode and automatic obstacle avoidance. Operations in harsh environments and conditions up to sea state 3 have been tested to date.

Located in 3D in real-time using the Ultra Short Base Line (USBL) positioning system coupled to the system’s internal sensors, TOWSCA provides sonar data that is geolocalised and time stamped for ease of analysis. Data can be transmitted at speeds of more than 10 knots. Applications foreseen for TOWSCA include mine detection and search and rescue.

Tim Mahon

The compact nature of TOWSCA enables it to be deployed from relatively small platforms such as the INSPECTOR Mk2. (Photo: ECA Group)

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