The Acoustic Detection and Monitoring System (ADMS) used by Emergency Intervention and Diver Training Boats while carrying out their missions, including “supporting rescue diving and emergency response operations in the event of accidents”, has been developed indigenously by Koç Bilgi ve Savunma Teknolojileri A.Ş.(KoçSavunma).
When a submarine sinks due to malfunction or damage, when a helicopter or aircraft is lost at sea after an accident, or in other such emergencies or situations, passive sonar systems are needed to detect the sonar beacon signals emitted by the sunken platform. In previous projects, Turkey was required to buy these systems as ready-made solutions from foreign manufacturers; however vessels with such foreign-sourced systems installed have both systemic and operational handicaps. Carrying out studies to eliminate these handicaps, KoçSavunma has developed the ADMS – an innovative and indigenous product – using only domestic and national means, to be used aboard the Emergency Intervention and Diver Training Boats built by DESAN Shipyard. We obtained information about the system from Seyitali Avcı, Senior Project Manager; Özay Öymez, Business Development Manager; İlter Köksal, Senior Electronics Engineer/Designer; and Cafer Ünsal, Senior Software Specialist from KoçSavunma.
Mr. Avcı, could you begin by introducing yourself?
I graduated from the Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering of Hacettepe University in 2005. I did my military service between April 2006 and March 2007 at the Gülhane Military Medical Academy as a reserve officer and Biomedical Engineer. I then worked in various positions and in various projects at HAVELSAN – as a System Engineer in the HELSİM Project, as a Hardware Engineer in the Peace Eagle Project, as a Project Engineer in the F16SİM Project and as Project Manager in the Turkish Airlines Flight Simulator Project between 2007 and 2017. I joined KoçSavunma in September 2017 and have since then worked as a Project Manager in various projects, including the Wake Detector Development Project, TÜPRAŞ’s Diver Detection Project and DESAN’s Acoustic Detection and Monitoring System and Underwater Telephone Projects.
Could you tell us the story of KoçSavunma’s involvement in the Emergency Intervention and Diver Training Boat Project, and about the contract process?
Let me briefly explain the process that brought us into this project. KoçSavunma joined the New Type Submarine Project with four different work packages, being the Torpedo Countermeasure System, the Breathing Air Monitoring System, the PC Network System and the Sonar Beacon System. The Sonar Beacon System is used to detect the underwater location of submarines in the event of damage or malfunction, and so is a critical system that supports search and rescue activities in emergencies. The pinger, which is a major component of this system and which broadcasts at frequencies of 9 kHz and 37.5 kHz, was developed by KoçSavunma, and is adaptable to all systems that operate underwater, from training torpedoes to autonomous underwater vehicles.
As the manufacturer of this Sonar Beacon System, we considered KoçSavunma had the necessary knowledge and infrastructure required to develop with domestic and national means a system that could detect the signals emitted by this pinger, and so we stated our desire to take part in the Emergency Intervention and Diving Training Boat project.
During the planning phase of the project, it was considered to use an off-the-shelf pedestal-mounted product of foreign origin that was already in use aboard the search and rescue ships in the inventory. We entered into discussions with the Presidency of Defence Industries (SSB) about changing the requirements, and to use a product developed with domestic and national means rather than one of foreign origin. We received support from DESAN Shipyard throughout these processes.
Could you tell us more about ADMS?
ADMS has been developed indigenously by KoçSavunma engineers to eliminate the handicaps experienced with equivalent foreign products during operations. One important feature of the system is that it is portable and can be used on various platforms if needed, bringing considerable advantages.
ADMS consists of four sub-systems: Acoustic Head; Connection Box; Detection, Positioning and Monitoring Computer (DPMC); and Crane.
The Acoustic Head is the sub-system that detects the signals emitted by sonar beacons. The main components of this sub-system are its eight spherical hydrophones, which were designed jointly by KoçSavunma engineers and Prof. Dr. Sedat Alkoy of Gebze Technical University, and produced in Turkey with domestic and national means. The hydrophones can detect acoustic signals in the 5–45 kHz band range.
Studies for the design and production of the electronic signal processing cards used in the Acoustic Head were carried out by KoçSavunma, and the associated embedded software was developed by KoçSavunma engineers.
The mechanical design of the Acoustic Head was also carried out by the engineers of KoçSavunma, meaning that the unit was produced entirely with domestic and national means. The Acoustic Head is designed to be resistant to underwater currents and adverse weather conditions, and a non-magnetic stainless-steel material was used to minimize the effects of such conditions on the magnetic sensor inside. The Acoustic Head has been designed for portable use.
The Connection Box transfers the information provided by the Acoustic Head and the Ship Information Distribution System (SIDS) to the DPMC, and also supplies the necessary electric power to the Acoustic Head.
A rugged laptop computer that has been constructed to endure harsh marine conditions is used. The DPMC runs on user-friendly software that has been designed and developed by KoçSavunma engineers. The detection algorithms within the software process the signals from the eight hydrophones, and make a high precision bearing calculation with ±2 degrees accuracy. The determinations and bearings calculated by the DPMC are displayed on map-based user screens that also display instant information provided by SIDS.
All data obtained during listening activities for the detection of sonar beacon signals can be recorded, depending on the user’s choice, and then replayed for training/debriefing purposes.
For the launch and retrieval of the Acoustic Head, a crane is supplied that has been designed in cooperation with our stakeholder Işık Crane that has been produced using domestic and national means. The crane system makes use of a hybrid underwater cable through which both ethernet and power signals are transmitted for the communication of data and for the supply of power to the Acoustic Head. The crane can lower the Acoustic Head to depths of 50 meters, as specified in the project requirements, allowing the Acoustic Head to detect signals at different acoustic levels, and permitting the detection of under-layer signals that cannot be detected by pedestal-mounted systems, ensuring the efficient use of time that is critical in search and rescue operations. It should be noted that the sonar beacon signals can only broadcast for a limited time, and so every minute is critical.
It would seem that ADMS has not been designed exclusively for Emergency Intervention and Diving Training Boats. Mr. Öymez, could you give us an idea about other situations in which this system could be used?
You are right, ADMS is a product that can be used in many different areas, aside from aboard Emergency Intervention and Diving Training Boats. We believe it should be made available on all platforms, in particular those engaged in search and rescue operations. It is a system that can operate effectively on all active search and rescue platforms, and especially search and rescue ships, but also helicopters and small boats.
It can be also be used to track divers carrying pingers emitting acoustic signals and valuable underwater devices such as ROVs and AUVs, and for locating underwater ammunition after practice firings.
Most importantly, it can be used to locate aircraft and helicopters downed in seas or lakes by pinpointing the acoustic pinger signals emitted by the black box.
We believe that such past disasters as Argentina’s loss of a submarine and the downing of the Malaysia Airline aircraft, which could not be found or were found too late, prove the importance of our ADMS system. I would like to point out that this system can also be integrated aboard ROV or AUV platforms to be used in the rescue phase following search activities, and can play an active role in accessing and steering the platform to be rescued.
Finally, I would like to express that there is also potential for exports of the system to countries with similar search and rescue platforms in the foreign market.
You have developed a system that is the first of its kind in Turkey. We would like to ask both İlter Köksal, Senior Electronics Engineer/Designer; and Cafer Ünsal, Senior Software Specialist, who are working on the project, about any difficulties they encountered during the R&D phase.
After the development of the first prototype of the product, we spent almost 60 percent of our time carrying out field tests, i.e. testing the product under various marine and environmental conditions, so as to ensure the delivery of a perfect product. Our system was qualified after passing various tests under challenging environmental conditions, including tests for leakage, temperature, temperature shock, humidity and salt spray. We worked with our colleagues on the team tirelessly, motivated by our determination to produce a system for the first time in Turkey. Sometimes we worked until morning, and sometimes we were caught up in storms at sea and subjected to strong winds. In the end, however, we are happy to bring an indigenous and successful product to our country.
Before the Sea Acceptance Tests, we had a very limited opportunity to conduct tests for about three months due to the pandemic. Despite this fact, we were ready when the sea acceptance tests started, and were able to complete the qualification stages of the system.
After a long and arduous process, the product tests were completed and the system was delivered to the client. What made you most happy here? Could you tell us about your feelings?
For the sea tests of our system, we used performance models based on the environmental conditions on the day of the test using the Underwater Environment Model (SORTAM) software developed by KoçSavunma. Within the maximum detection range determined as a result of modelling, we succeeded in determining the bearing of the signal with an accuracy of ±2 degrees. Words cannot describe our happiness and pride in seeing how the system performed in front of the entire acceptance committee.
We are extremely proud to see that our product was able to successfully fulfil its duties, even at the limits of the system design criteria, under severe winds blowing at 40 km/h, in a harsh environment, and in sea conditions exceeding sea-state 3 on the day of the Sea Acceptance Test of the second boat.
At the end of the day, the appreciation voiced by DESAN Shipyard, the SSB and Turkish Naval Forces Command of the works we carried out under the Koç brand once again reminded us that we are on the right track. We would like to express our gratitude to our counterparts at DESAN Shipyard, the SSB and Turkish Naval Forces Command, and all of our stakeholders for their support throughout this project.
On behalf of our readers, we would like to thank Seyitali Avcı, Senior Project Manager; Özay Öymez, Business Development Manager; İlter Köksal, Senior Electronics Engineer/Designer; and Cafer Ünsal, Senior Software Specialist of KoçSavunma for taking the time to answer our questions and for providing us with such valuable information.