Sonobuoy is a device which helps to track submarines through using sound signal or echoes. It acts as a radar in underwater and alerts the organization in case of infiltrations. Sonobuoy consists a combination of sound navigation and ranging (SONAR) equipment which propagate sound to communicate and detect underwater objects. The Sonar equipment is normally connected to a buoy (a floating device) which consist of antenna to establish contact with command station. The SONAR equipment consists basically of hydrophone which collects signal and sends to the antenna through a cable. Some sonobuoy are connected with terminal weight which helps them reaching to the lower bed in ocean.
In recent years, rise in conflicts among countries to control international trade have given rise to high investment in defense and monitoring systems. Among these countries, many share international water borders which provides a probable path for enemies to infiltrate through the border. The recent growth in terrorism in Asia Pacific region and illegal trafficking of drugs near North American and Latin American border have cautioned the government organizations to invest in surveillance of international waters. For surveillance of intruding ships and boats across waters, organizations deploy war ships in order to track and destroy probable suspects. However, enemies can infiltrate the border using submarines and under human occupied vehicles (HOV). Thus, organizations need to continuously track such submarines in case of possible infiltrations. Sonobuoys are deployed using aircrafts or unmanned air vehicles (UAV) and ships which deploy them at specific places in the ocean. Once the Sonobuoy are deployed into the sea/ocean, it starts transmitting signals to the command station. The Sonobuoy can be categorized as active, passive and special purpose Sonobuoy depending upon the type of operation.
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Active sonobuoy continuously transmits sound signal once it starts working and listens to the reflected sounds before transmitting to the command station. Thus, active sonobuoy comprises transducer and hydrophone to transmit and receive sound signals. Passive sonobuoy consists of hydrophone which listens to incoming sound and transmits it back to the command station. Special purpose sonobuoy systems are increasingly being used for environmental and refraction studies. Special purpose sonobuoy helps tracking wave height, water temperature and seismographic variation beneath sea/ocean which help in analysis of global warming and earthquakes. Today, sonobuoy can also be activated remotely using radio link once it is deployed underwater. Sonobuoy uses ultra-high frequency radio signal to establish contact with the command station. Due to technological advancements in sonobuoy manufacturing, these systems are now capable of detecting submarines in littoral waters. Sonobuoy are also available in different sizes depending upon the receiving range and type of application. For application covering large area in deep oceans, the size of the sonobuoy may be large due to installation of battery and transmitter. Some sonobuoy manufacturers also provide sonobuoy receivers which help receiving signals from a deployed sonobuoy. Rising focus towards addressing environmental issues and strengthening defense systems is expected to substantially drive the market for sonobuoy in coming years. Further, the cost effectiveness for monitor international water borders using sonobuoy compared to deploying ships is another driving factor for the Sonobuoy market in defense sector.
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Some of the key manufacturers of Sonobuoy are Ultra Electronics Holdings PLC, General Dynamics Mission Systems, Sparton Corp., Radixon Group, Thales Group and Sealandaire Technologies, Inc. among others.
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