Hydrophone arrays are used militarily to detect the presence of submarines and to provide information about their movements. Because modern submarines with cruise missiles have the ability to attack surface ships at great distances, the protection of surface shipping requires the detection and tracking of submerged submarines over vast areas of ocean. Hydrophone arrays have typically been used for this purpose.
Hydrophones are acoustic transducers which operate by detecting acoustic signals and converting them to electrical impulses which can then be transmitted by radio waves to a distant receiver. Typically, an array of hydrophones is loaded into a sonobuoy which can then be dropped by airplane into the ocean. The array is then deployed while a float containing a transmitter remains at the surface of the water.
What is yet needed is a collapsible hydrophone array support system which maintains the array in a predetermined configuration when deployed with reduced chance of twisting the wires, and which can be fit into a sonobuoy.
The Water Inflated Horizontal Aperture Volumetric Hydrophone Array with PVDF Wire Elements is an inflatable shaped housing enclosing an interior space and formable between a collapsed configuration and an expanded configuration, a framework of compliant material disposed within the interior of the inflatable housing, and a plurality of hydrophone units attached to the compliant material at respective positions, wherein said hydrophone units are arranged in a predetermined geometric array when the shaped housing is in the expanded configuration. Also provided herein is a system and method for deploying the hydrophone array.
This technology advantageously provides a means for deploying an array of hydrophones in a predetermined configuration with less chance of twisting the wires with multiple support members. The array is collapsible into a size A or smaller sonobuoy and the inflatable support structure doesn't use metal. While this technology has clear advantageous for military applications and has been described in terms of detection of submarines, it can clearly be employed in any situation wherein acoustic detection is needed, such as oceanographic or other scientific studies, rescue operations, and the like.
Patent Status: U.S. patent(s) 8194504; 7697374 issued.CONTACT:
Mr. M. T. Hickman