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New Sub Coating to Distort Sonar

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

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A Russian shipbuilding research and development institute is working on a polymer film coating intended to make the nation’s submarines invisible to sonar.

The Krylov State Research Centre’s coating work is part of a program to equip the Russian navy’s new and existing subs with a piezoceramic coating system designed to distort the sonar signals of an adversary’s subs and surface ships, Mil.Today reported Saturday (Oct. 1).

Russian sub, Port of Kronstadt
By Alf van Beem / Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

A Russian shipbuilding institute is working on a polymer film coating (not shown) able to absorb and distort the sonar signals of an adversary’s subs and surface ships, according to media sources.

The end product is described as polymer membrane covering the entire hull of a submarine; the coating captures the sonar signal, processes and distorts the signal, then bounces it back, according to Sputnik International.

Technology Partners

The technology is the result of a partnership between the Krylov Centre and the Okeanpribor Concern Open Joint-Stock Company, with funding assistance from the Russian Foundation for Advanced Research Projects.

Among its activities, the Krylov Centre produces acoustic and radar-absorbing coatings, and is said to be Russia’s leading developer of radar-absorbing coatings for submarines. The Okeanpribor Concern develops hydro-acoustic systems and ultrasonic devices for submarines and commercial vessels.

The project, dubbed Korsar (meaning Corsair in Russian), utilizes Okeanpribor’s antennas and sensors; it is the piezoceramic in the coating that makes it capable of absorbing and distorting acoustic signals. The Krylov Centre is working on integrating the piezoceramic coating into submarines’ outer plating.

“It is the polymeric film based on oxides of zirconium, titanium and lead,” an unnamed insider in the Russian Defense Ministry told the media.

“The film is able both to absorb external radio signals and conduct them,” he explained. “In fact, the piezorubber coating applied on a submarine turns the whole hull into a hydroacoustic antenna.”

According to the source, the work is in its final stages, with trials of specific elements slated to begin in the near future. Research and development is slated for completion by the end of the 2017, he added.

Coatings Advancements

These piezoceramics could replace the passive-type rubber anti-sonar coatings that currently in use by on multipurpose and nuclear-powered subs, according to one naval engineering expert.

“In the U.S., they have just realized all benefits of such signature-reducing technology and began to coat their subs with rubber, just like we do,” said Alexander Mozgovoy.

“The only disadvantage is low reliability. After each mission subs lose part of protective coating due to external impacts, so the coating must be recovered,” he explained.

The use of piezoceramic films is the next stage in sonic-absorbent technologies, Mozgovoy noted. “The key advantage is an opportunity to obtain an endurable and strong coating integrating various sensors and antennas in its structure," he said.


Tagged categories: Asia Pacific; Coating Materials; Coatings technology; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Latin America; Marine Coatings; Military; North America; Research and development

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