Sonar for naval applications was originally developed to
detect and locate underwater threats in deep water, such
as submarines. It was discovered that this deep water sonar
was not very effective at locating smaller objects such as
mines. It became well known that in order to detect and
localize small objects in the water, higher sonar frequencies
were required. The use of these higher frequencies added
significant complexity to the systems required to acquire and
analyze the sonar data.
The hardware used to build such systems has changed
considerably over the last ten years. A large percentage of
current generation data acquisition hardware available in the
market today utilizes FPGAs due to their flexibility of use and
their inherent ability to manage data. By taking advantage
of the additional data processing capability available within
these FPGAs, unique solutions can be offered to integrators
of high frequency sonar systems which can lower the overall
system cost and simplify system design.
This paper will look at traditional solutions to the implementation
of a high frequency sonar system and compare them
to one of the simpler solutions available with modern FPGA
enabled hardware offerings. This comparison is especially
relevant today since the requirement to detect small items in
the water has expanded from just mines to include such diverse
objects such as divers, swimmers, and small water vehicles all
in the interest of harbor security and coastal defense.
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