A set of objectives were established to help organize the information gathered during the visits and, hopefully, guide the discussions. Although all of the objectives were not met, many insights and new knowledge of capabilities were gleaned from the discussions. The objectives established to allow consideration of the applications of acoustic technology were as follows:

  1. Begin to document applications of acoustic technology
  2. Assess the maturity of those applications
  3. Relate those activities to similar ones in the United States
  4. Identify unique concepts or applications

It is clear that much activity, in terms of both basic research and development, is underway in both Eastern and Western Europe. It is hard to quantify differences in the level of technology since current conditions in the former Soviet Union (FSU) and Western Europe are so different. Certainly the market for these applications is much more mature in Western Europe. The specific applications under consideration may be more diverse in the FSU. Previously, the focus was almost exclusively on military need. Now the interest is on more commercial applications. Technologists are searching for unique applications of their capabilities.

Acoustic applications in France and the United Kingdom, for the most part, have matured to a point where products have been defined or specific needs established. In Russia and Ukraine, the maturity of the work discussed varied from functioning hardware to esoteric consideration. Although it would be foolhardy to state that this visit clarified the questions related to concept maturity, it was possible to gain an initial understanding.

There is a marked difference between developments in the United States and the FSU. There is also some difference between what was seen in France and the United Kingdom and in the United States, although those differences were far less pronounced.

To identify unique applications, it must first be understood that some applications discussed during the WTEC team's visits in Russia and Ukraine may exist in the United States in classified programs. All assessments of the uniqueness of work are made with no understanding of possible similarities of application in classified programs or activities in the United States. It may be better to assume that applications described as unique may be more accurately described as interesting.

Published: June 1994; WTEC Hyper-Librarian