Technology & Applications

Technological Capability

Our technology is based on our intimate understanding of piezocomposite structures and materials, allowing efficient operation over a wide bandwidth.

  • High-density multi-element transmitters and receivers
  • Low crosstalk providing element isolation and wide beamwidth
  • Steerable beam control
  • Exceptional inter-element uniformity
  • True wideband performance enabling frequency-agility in a single sonar
  • Curved transmitters and receivers
  • High transmit and receive sensitivity
  • Increased efficiency providing improved signal-to-noise ratio and power-handling
  • Complex electrode shading allowing tailored beam patterns
  • Full-ocean depth systems, up to 7000m operation
  • Excellent durability and reliability

We continually invest in R&D activity to improve our materials, processes and technology in order to meet the increasing demands of the underwater sonar sector. This investment has generated advances in performance that are now available in our sonar designs.

Applying our technology

Our technology allows us to provide solutions for all sonar array types. These products are then supplied into several applications and market sectors

  • Multi-Beam Echo Sounders
  • Synthetic Aperture Sonar (SAS)
  • Sidescan Sonar
  • Bathymetry Arrays
  • Intruder Detection
  • Mechanically-Scanned Sonars
  • Forward-looking sonars

Hydrographical Survey

Sea-bed surveys form a key part of most underwater sonar applications, for example in scientific exploration, hydrocarbon extraction, renewable marine installations, defence, dredging operations, pipeline inspection and harbour maintenance.

Multi-Beam Echo Sounders are particularly relevant to this type of underwater imaging, capable of providing high-resolution data over a wide swath at multiple frequencies.

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Naval Defence

An increasing focus of mine counter-measure systems is to allow remotely-operated underwater vehicles to autonomously survey and neutralise underwater ordnance threats. Our SAS technology is being utilised in significant international programs to demonstrate this capability. This includes participation in the MMCM programme was initiated in 2012 through agreement between the French and UK Governments.

The aim of this programme is to develop an autonomous system intended to be the future of mine counter measures for the Royal and French navies. Alba has supplied Thales with the very high resolution multi-view SAS arrays for this programme, representing another key milestone in the ongoing collaborations between our organisations.

Maritime Security

Increasing threats from hostile actors in the marine environment means that securing assets is of critical importance. This applies to both commercial as well as defence installations. Our technology has been deployed in intruder detection systems to allow remote and autonomous monitoring of the underwater environment.

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Synthetic Aperture Sonar

Synthetic Aperture Sonar is increasingly used in commercial as well as defence applications, allowing imaging of the seabed and subsea features in intricate detail. Alba provides our world-leading clients with these complex array systems, with designs capable of operation at depths of greater than 6000m.

Sidescan Sonar

There has been a large increase in the use of sidescan sonars for underwater imaging, particularly on modern underwater vehicles. Alba can design and manufacture the full range of these devices, whether these be single-element, single-frequency or complex multi-element designs enabling frequency agility and multi-aspect imaging.