Maritime technology specialist Sonardyne International Ltd. has introduced a collision avoidance capability for naval, commercial, passenger and private vessels with its new Vigilant forward looking sonar (FLS).

Providing live and past vessel track, detailed 3D bathymetry out to 600 m and automated warnings of unseen collision hazards on and beneath the waterline out to 1.5 km, Vigilant FLS offers mariners with unprecedented subsurface situational awareness.

Compact in size and with mounting options for both new build and retro-fit, Vigilant is suitable for vessels of all sizes and types; expedition cruise, research and exploration, coastguard, private yachts and merchant shipping. It’s also supports naval platforms, from military ships to diver delivery systems (DDS) entering challenging operational zones.

When underway, Vigilant provides crew with an early warning of hazards, from rocks and wrecks to sand banks and otherwise hidden, below-the-surface obstacles, over a 90 degree field of view. This makes Vigilant ideal for both day-to-day operations in busy commercial waters as well as more remote off-chart excursions or operations in dynamic environments, for example, approaching a harbour following a natural disaster.

For unmanned surface vehicles (USV) of the type increasingly being employed to conduct intelligence gathering and over-the-horizon reconnaissance missions, Vigilant comes ready to support onboard automatic control and obstacle avoidance systems, enabling full below the waterline awareness.

Vigilant provides two operational modes: 3D and Sonar, which helmsman and vehicle pilots can seamlessly toggle between. Sonar mode detects obstacles in the water out to more than 1,500 m giving large vessels in particular, valuable time to react. The system’s configurable alarms ensure hazards are not overlooked during periods of high operator workload.

In 3D mode, users are able to view an easy to interpret, real-time generated three-dimensional colour map of the bathymetry out to 600 m, clearly identifying between safe and unsafe areas, while sonar mode continues in the background, at the selected range. Users are also able to view a profile display, showing the depth of any obstacles on the vessel’s heading or a specific bearing.

Vigilant offers multiple mounting and integration options including permanent, through-hull deployment and interfacing with third-party command and control systems or electronic charting displays and is suitable for both new builds and already commissioned vessels.

“Every day, we hear of ships of all types and all over the world running aground or colliding with unseen submerged objects, sadly including endangered mammals and ecosystems. The costs and consequences in all respects can be enormous. These incidents occur for many different reasons, some human, some technical, but in every case, there is a lack of subsurface situational awareness. Vigilant is the most capable (longest range, highest area coverage, highest resolution) commercially-available forward looking sonar on the market and it is an invaluable tool to help mariners avoid these situations.”

Derek Lynch, Sonardyne’s Global Business Manager for Marine Vessel Systems

Ioseba Tena, Sonardyne’s Global Business Manager for Defence, says: “Vigilant FLS is a powerful new tool for those working in theatres of operation where knowing what lies ahead is mission critical. Humanitarian relief is a great example. Often, navies delivering aid are first to arrive on scene following a natural disaster. With Vigilant onboard, crews would know if the seabed on approach to a harbour or landing zone has changed following a storm. From minehunters and expeditionary vessels to swimmer delivery systems and unmanned underwater and unmanned surface vehicles, Vigilant is highly capable, flexible, easy to use and service-ready.”