New sonar system tested on board Harry DeWolf

HMCS Harry DeWolf crew members help launch Defence Research and Development Canada’s new Towed Reelable Active-Passive Sonar, which was tested during the ship’s passage through Northern waters earlier this fall. Photo by Corporal Simon Arcand, Canadian Armed Forces Photo

Lt(N) Lisa Tubb
HMCS Harry DeWolf

While HMCS Harry DeWolf conducted presence and surveillance patrols in Canada’s Arctic in August and September, a new piece of technology was being tested beneath the waves.

During the Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship’s recent participation on Operation Nanook 2021, a team from Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) launched a new underwater listening device that could be used to find submarines.

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

“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 on board the ship.

The increased cargo and payload capability of Harry DeWolf provided a unique opportunity to accommodate not only three DRDC technical staff, but also a sea container that stored their equipment and served as a mobile laboratory.

“This trial is one example of how DRDC’s research is advancing acoustic sensing applications for anti-submarine warfare operations. It is 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 ship’s crew members joined the DRDC team on the quarterdeck to view the operation, and pitched in to launch the system. The ship 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.


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