For the first time in Russia, including the Soviet period, was created the scientific sonar system capable of carrying out fish stocks state assessments. This new and unique system makes it possible to lessen monopolistic market position of the Kongsberg Maritime company (Simrad, Norway) which dominated the market of such kind of equipment over the past three decades. At the end of 2014, Vector Marine Electronics Ltd. completed development of the prototype of a portable multibeam sector-view sonar (coded as Sector) designed for fish calculation in protected coastal fishing areas and in internal water bodies (there is no such scientific equipment abroad). It is the first step to replace foreign imports necessary for investigation of marine bioresources. At the final stage of the development works a series of model and full-scale underwater tests were conducted.
There were two stages of full-scale underwater tests:
- The 1st stage in September, 9 to 11, 2014 at Yassenskaya ferry located in the Krasnodar region;
- The 2nd stage in October, 8 to 10, 2014 at Lake Glubokoye located in the Moscow region.
After finishing tests, three research organisations, such as VNIRO (Rosrybolovstvo), A.N.Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution and I.D. Papanin Institute for biology of inland waters (Russian academy of sciences), interested in the offered equipment made a request to Shipbuilding and Marine Department (Minpromtorg) on delivery of the pre-production model to these institutes and putting it into trial operation for investigation of marine bioresourses in inland waters, including calculation of spawning sturgeon and fry emigration. They heard favourably from the Department.
Eventually, on completion of tests the Opinion Letter was worked out.
An Opinion Letter
on results of full-scale tests of a portable sector-scan sonar
We, the undersigned, (experts and scientists of three research institutes) took partin the full-scale testsof a portable sector-scan sonar “Sector” designed by Vector Marine Electronics, Ltd. The tests were performed at the Sea of Azov (Yyassenskaya ferry) and at Lake Glubokoye (Moscow region). Also, at Lake Glubokoye were conducted tests (acoustic survey for fish estimation on the same cruise tracks) to compare Sector with state-of-the-art foreign sonar systems developed by Konsberg Maritime (Simrad, Norvey) and Didson (the USA.
Our research institutes have many years of experience in investigation of marine bioresourses using new sonic equipment both in Russia and abroad at sea and in inland waters. During the tests, the Sector operational and technical characteristics, perspectives of its use by Russian and foreign customers were highly appreciated; also, the Sector was compared with foreign devices.
The Sector sonar is designed to investigate marine bioresourses in protected coastal fishing areas and in internal water bodies. The equipment can be fitted on small fishing vessels including boats.
The Sector can be used for solving tasks typical for scientific sonars, such as:
- calculation of single fishes;
- estimation of fish school biomass;
- evaluation of detected fish size range.
Sector is capable of detecting and calculating simultaneously single full grown-up fish and fry in a wide swath in shallow waters at depth of 1.5 to 100 m. Most of advanced foreign sonar systems do not feature such a unique capability.
The Sector includes a display and control unit (a rugged notebook), a transceiver unit (a subwater unit, an interface unit mounted aboard, temperature sensor, connecting cables), a motion sensor, a GPS receiver, an overboard transducer and standalone power source.
Basic technical data:
Operating frequency, kHz: 200
Area of coverage (at target strength of - 45 dB), m: 150
Detection range, m: up to 250
Range resolution, sm: 2,5
Beam width, deg.: 7х7
Scanning sector with one subwater unit, deg.: 90
Scanning sector with two underwater units, deg.: 180
Number of beams within a view sector of one underwater unit, pcs: 33
Pulse transmission: tone
Total sonar weight, kg: up to80
Method of determining target position within a beam: split beam
A constant angle resolution within a scanning sector is provided.
A transducer and electronics of transmitting and receiving channels are housed in a single water-proof subsea monoblock.
Similar foreign devices are manufactured by Konsberg Maritime (Simrad, Norway), Furuno (Japan), HTI (the USA). When comparing to foreign counterparts, essential competitive advantages of Sector were demonstrated, such as: a wide swath, absence of side lobes, high-level resolution of single targets (up to 2,5 cm), display modes (<sector-view>, <side-scan view>, <echogram view>), availability of built-in simulation mode, arrangement of transducer and transceiver channel in one subsea monoblock.
Utilization of the offered sonar systems makes it possible to greatly enlarge the coverage of water area (as compared to Simrad EY-60) and, in some cases, can be time- and cost-effective during acoustic surveys providing greater accuracy of fish stock assessments. Thus, use of this sonar system for quantitative assessment of fish concentrations will improve significantly acoustic surveys even in areas earlier unsurveyed.
It should be here mentioned that a new Vector scientific sonar system is really a noteworthy event and achievement because developments of such kind of equipment dropped in Russia over the last 25 years. Konsberg Maritime maintains unchallenged leadership in this field. Now we are virtually certain that the Sector is capable of replacing foreign products of particular class of sonic equipment designed for investigation and assessment of bioresourses at shallow water areas.
Important technological breakthrough results were achieved by Vector in cooperation with associate contractors (VNIRO and Reakont company) practically over 3 years.
During the tests, experts who took part in the tests made some adjustments, proposals and comments on sonar operation, implementation of which will improve the Sector performance characteristics. Development work was started "from scratch", but thanks to accumulated experience in the simulator field and underwater acoustics, the work was completed quickly and successfully.
In addition, the Sector could be a foundation stone of a new class of scientific sonars designed for estimation spawning salmon, sturgeon and other valuable species of fish. Extending the sonar’s capabilities will enhance its reputation as a marketable product for commercial fishing. Innovative solutions implemented in the Sector will make it possible to create a modern and high-performance class of domestic fish-finding and monitoring equipment, most of which are now foreign-made. Also, domestic acoustic systems for monitoring fish growth rate in fish ponds to increase the efficiency of aquaculture technologies can be designed by using the Sector sonar system.
Acceptance testing team:
Goncharov S.M. VNIRO
Kudryavtsev V.I. VNIRO
Borissenko E.S. Institute of Ecology and Evolution
Malin M.I. Institute for Biology of Inland Waters (RAS)
Having completed the development work (from development of technical specifications to the full-scale tests), Vector gained customer confidence in Russia!