The availability of low power and miniature electronic components and sensors have made it possible to build arrays of smaller diameter and lightweight compared to traditional bulky and heavy arrays. These new arrays with digital outputs can be used for both fixed and towed array underwater applications and on platforms including AUVs.
ARL has been engaged in the development of thin line towed arrays since 2005. It has developed digital thin line arrays ranging from 15 to 25mm in diameter with 12 to 24 channels. These arrays have been integrated and successfully tested with many AUV platforms both for underwater detection and seabed characterization studies. The arrays have also been employed as static vertical line arrays (VLA) for many local studies such as long-range underwater communication and monitoring and recording reef sound.
Recently, ARL has also acquired the expertise to build larger diameter arrays containing hundreds of channels which can be towed behind surface crafts at very high speeds. These arrays can transmit information in real-time and over several meters of an optical cable. The array features many networked data acquisition units with individually programmable gain and also include Non-Acoustic Sensors (NAS) to monitor temperature, pressure and heading information.