New sonar system on Canadian Navy’s first AOPS tested

During the Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship’s (AOPS) recent participation on Operation Nanook 2021, part of its larger and ongoing circumnavigation of North America, a team from Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) launched a new underwater listening device used to find submarines.

Harry DeWolf; Photo by Royal Canadian Navy

The Royal Canadian Navy’s (RCN) newly commissioned Arctic and offshore patrol ship (AOPS) HMCS Harry DeWolf departed for its first operational mission to Canada’s North in August this year.

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Called the Towed Reelable Active-Passive Sonar (TRAPS), the TRAPS system recorded passive data to characterize ambient noise and HMCS Harry DeWolf-class acoustic signature. The collected data will be analyzed for environmental characterization and sonar performance modeling and may have the potential to be used for marine mammal acoustic monitoring, according to the officials.

“The deployment of the sonar system near the hamlet of Grise Fiord, Nunavut, was the northernmost deployment of a towed array system by the Royal Canadian Navy,” said Jeff Scrutton, a lead engineer for underwater warfare at DRDC and part of the TRAPS trial team aboard the ship.

The increased cargo and payload capability of the unit provided a unique opportunity to accommodate not only three DRDC technical staff, but also a sea container that acted as storage for their equipment and a mobile laboratory.

“This trial is one example of how DRDC’s research is advancing acoustic sensing applications for anti-submarine warfare operations, as part of our overall mission to enhance Canada’s defence and security posture through excellence in science, technology and innovation,” said Michel Couillard, Section Head for Underwater Warfare with DRDC.

During the deployment of the TRAPS system, several of the ship’s crew members joined the DRDC team on the busy quarterdeck to view the operation, pitching in to launch the system.

While on Operation Nanook 2021, HMCS Harry DeWolf transported the TRAPS system more than 7,000 nautical miles, and provided multiple opportunities for testing the equipment.

DRDC hopes to re-deploy the TRAPS system to further develop the equipment and its capabilities.

HMCS Harry DeWolf, Canada’s first Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship, was delivered to the Government of Canada in Halifax last year.

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