Site: Oceanpribor
Research and Production Company
Chkalovsky Pr. 46
St. Petersburg 197376
Russia

Date Visited: May 20, 1993

Report Author: A. Kalvaitis

ATTENDEES

WTEC:

A. Kalvaitis
N. Caplan
M. Lee

HOSTS:

Juri Koriakin; Engineering Dir., Doctor of Science in Physics and Mathematics
Stanislav A. Smirnov; R&D Director, Doctor of Science in Physics and Mathematics
Arkady A. Soloviev; Head of Foreign Relations Department

BACKGROUND

Oceanpribor combines a research center and two manufacturing plants. It was originally formed 60 years ago as a government controlled enterprise. The primary function was to design and fabricate acoustic systems for Navy ships and submersibles. A company was formed in 1973 to market these devices under the trademark KORVET. Oceanpribor considers itself the leading organization in Russia specializing in acoustics, and participates in fundamental and applied research. There are presently a total of 4,000 employees, including 2,000 scientists and engineers working in the Oceanpribor Research Center. Oceanpribor also designs and produces consumer products, including commercial acoustic systems, amplifiers, and record players. Under the defense conversion program now underway, other equipment developed here includes underwater stationary systems for environmental tracking and surveillance; hydroacoustic equipment for research vessels; multi-purpose sonar and positioning systems for manned and unmanned underwater vehicles; resources and equipment for ship-born prospecting and development; and systems and devices designed to address the problems of marine engineering and geology in continental shelf development, as well as for hydrographic and oceanological research. Oceanpribor's numerous facilities include a large acoustically isolated tank for conducting in-water acoustic tests and measurements.

RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITIES

In Russia, all projects involving hydroacoustics, or sound transmission in water, are conducted at this center, and the specialists are at this location. They cooperate with 100 other institutions and subcontract work to these groups. Basically, Oceanpribor Research Center is responsible for the design, development, and prototyping of hydroacoustic devices, while production is conducted at other Oceanpribor facilities and outside locations. In the United States there are many companies in this specialty area.

The WTEC team was given a tour of some of Oceanpribor's facilities, which included a museum, a display of underwater acoustics equipment and devices, the large test basin complex, and a demonstration of commercial sound ("HiFi") equipment. The museum depicted a history of hydrophones and the underwater acoustic devices dating to 1933. Displayed were models of large passive sonars installed on their submarines. Also shown was a series of bottom mounted hydrophones that are activated by ship's noise, and a model of a large, rectangular-shaped hydrophone array for long range tracking.

The team was also shown an extensive exhibit of miscellaneous equipment that had been utilized for a defense conversion conference held earlier in the week and attended by representatives from former Soviet and eastern European countries. Side scan transducers, responders, towed arrays, and expendable sound velocimeters, sound reflectors, and other miscellaneous underwater sound-related devices were displayed. Some of the performance specifications were in English and displayed on posters. For example, the specifications stated compressed video transmission capability at 2 to 15 lines/sec, as well as data transmission capability at 2,000 500 bits/sec at ranges of 5 to 15 km.

Next the team was shown the large acoustic test basin complex that is used for measurement and testing of arrays, components, and transducers. Specifications are as follows: dimensions of reservoir 50 x 14 x 10 m; frequency range 0.2 to 600 kHz; absorption factor 0.94; acoustic noise level of not more than 0.05 Pa in one-third octave bands of operating range; and accuracy of reading is 10 mm using linear coordinate devices and 6 minutes using angular coordinate devices.

Oceanpribor has expertise in a broad spectrum of underwater acoustic technologies, equipment, and devices. The research center initiated research on side scan sonar in the early 1960s. The panel was shown a 1964 side scan image of a ship. Presently, work is underway for computer enhancement of the images. Oceanpribor has developed transducers with very uniform directivity patterns and little distortion. By using complex reflector systems, the side scan antennae exhibit no side lobes and can be packaged in small volumes. Side scan capability can be applied to towed, remote (both ROV and AUV), and manned vehicles. A 255 kHz multibeam Doppler velocity log has been developed that can measure ship velocities in deep water (down to 6,000 m) accurately by bottom tracking instead of tracking on water mass. It is unclear how this capability compares to Western systems (e.g., acoustic Doppler current profilers that can measure current velocities at various depths simultaneously).

In the area of tracking and positioning systems, the center has developed long, short, and ultrashort baseline systems. Oceanpribor's positioning systems work at depths from 50 to 6,000 m at ranges up to 12 km; they are similar to those of Honeywell. Some of these have accuracies of 0.3 m, utilize different frequencies, and can change codes. These can operate several days to years in duration. Their systems are compatible with SIMRAD and other equipment.

We discussed teleoperation, data transmission over large distances, and telemetry capabilities. There is no problem with large amounts of data telemetry over short distances; however, at ranges of 100 to 400 km, the sound channel is used. Oceanpribor is developing algorithms that will work in the multipath environment; this is a major undertaking that may require cooperation with specialists from many countries.

Oceanpribor recognizes the limitations of its computers; to compensate, the center's algorithms are required to be very efficient. Its software designers must understand the physics of the system and implement the real-time software.

Looking into the future, Oceanpribor envisions geology and oil and gas exploration as areas of interest. The firm also anticipates that considerable support of the Russian Navy will continue because Ukraine presently has most of the ships with hydroacoustic capability; therefore this capability will have to be reestablished. (The panel was told that a similar group to Oceanpribor is being formed in Ukraine). Even though Oceanpribor's ocean acoustic technology was previously classified, it can participate in international projects if they are not defense related or if intergovernmental agreements are concluded.

In summary, Oceanpribor claims it is the largest Russian company specializing in the design of underwater acoustic systems for world ocean resource exploration, deep hydrographic surveying, and oceanographic research. Oceanpribor would like to collaborate with foreign companies to design and manufacture new hydroacoustic systems, export existing products, conduct tests and calibrations in its unique test basin complex, and establish cooperative production activities and joint ventures.

REFERENCES

KORVET Oceanpribor Research and Production Company. Hydroacoustic Devices and Systems. Short brochure on capabilities.

KORVET Oceanpribor. "Hydroacoustic Devices and Systems," KORVET 92. This packet includes performance specifications on approximately thirty underwater acoustic devices, hydrophones, ship positioning systems, and so forth. In English.


Published: June 1994; WTEC Hyper-Librarian