Introduction to the Sonar Equations

Course #PH3401

Est.imated Completion Time: 3 months


A discussion of the fundamental principles behind each term of the sonar equations. Starting with the acoustic wave equation and the basic properties of sound waves, topics include ray acoustics, normal mode theory, simple transmission loss models, coherent and incoherent sound, directivity, beamforming, scattering, noise sources and properties, and the detection threshold. This course can be taken online as part of the ASW Certificate program.

Included in degrees & certificates

  • 274


  • Single-variable calculus

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Plot ray paths in layers of isogradient water.
  • Calculate transmission loss for simple ray trace models such as spherical and cylindrical spreading; mixed layer; convergence zone; bottom bounce; reliable acoustic path; and SOFAR channel.
  • Use sonobuoy data to calculate the speed, depth, and distance of closest approach of an uncooperative target.
  • Calculate transmission loss for simple normal mode models.
  • Determine spectrum and band levels for signals containing both tones and noise.
  • Determine source levels and beam patterns for sources and arrays.
  • Calculate detected noise levels and reverberation levels for various environmental conditions.
  • Use ROC curves to determine detection thresholds.
  • Convert Doppler shift information into receiver bandwidth considerations.
  • For given sonar and target characteristics, estimate the range of detection.
  • Estimate the design parameters for a sonar system to achieve specified operational requirements.  
Offerings database access
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Application Deadlines

  •  08 Jul 2024

    Fall Quarter applications due

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