Raphael Ernst visited the NATO Underwater Research Center

Raphael Ernst  visited the NATO Underwater Research Center (NURC) in La Spezia, Italy where he had the opportunity to see the work at the NURC and presented current research results from a cooperation with the Bundeswehr Technical Center for Ships and Naval Weapons, Naval Technology and Research (WTD71), Research Department for Underwater Acoustics and Marine Geophysics (FWG).

Background Information

Until now, for nearly 100 years there has been done research with monostatic sonar systems. There are many applications in the civil as well as military world. Especially in anti-submarine warfare, sonar is the most common sensor to detect and track submarines.  However, due to recent submarine designs with low signatures the classic sonar detection probability decreases. A new approach is the so-called multistatic sonar. Contrary to monostatics several transmitters (pingers) and receivers (sensors) cooperate to increase the detection probability even in challenging environments and against modern submarines. The basic idea is that a pinger emits its pulse which is reflected at the submarine and received by several distributed sensors under different aspect angles. Furthermore, through cycling between different pingers, it is possible to illuminate the underwater environment from different directions. Both will increase the detection probability.

The challenge of such a multistatic sonar is its distributed nature. The multistatic partners cooperate and exchange signals that are needed to process the received echos. The derived contact information of potential targets are delivered to the fusion center where multistatic data fusion and multistatic tracking take place. Since sensors as well as pingers in a multistatic sonar operations are mobile and distributed over vast areas, it is common that there is no direct link to all communication partners. As communication infrastructures are generally not available the use of Mobile Ad-Hoc Networks (MANETs) is a natural choice.