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An acoustic receiver and radio transmitter mounted in a buoy that can be dropped from an aircraft by parachute to pick up underwater sounds of a submarine and transmit them to the aircraft; to track a submarine, several buoys are dropped in a pattern that includes the known or suspected location of the submarine, with each buoy transmitting an identifiable signal; an electronic computer then determines the location of the submarine by comparison of the received signals and triangulation of the resulting time-delay data. Also known as radio sonobuoy.



a marine buoy equipped with electronic equipment, designed to detect and locate submerged submarines and to investigate marine noises and acoustic propagation conditions in the ocean. Sonobuoys classified as passive types are used to pick up the acoustic vibrations produced by submarines; those classified as active types emit ultrasonic signals and pick up the signals reflected from submarines. Both passive and active sonobuoys detect a submarine and determine its direction (bearing); in addition, active sonobuoys determine the distance to the detected submarine.

Sonobuoys are dropped into position from airplanes, helicopters, and antisubmarine vessels in groups of several units; they form barrier lines or enclosures in the directions in which the submarines can move, or in their suspected positions. Sonobuoys equipped with anchors are moored in the area where they are dropped; those without anchoring devices drift after placement as a result of the action of the wind, waves, and ocean currents. Sonobuoys may operate continuously or according to a prescribed program; some of the latter type are equipped with a radar beacon (a transponder) and light-signaling device that facilitate the approach of an airplane, helicopter, or ship to the buoy.

The first sonobuoys appeared after World War II and have since become widely used, particularly with the development of atomic submarines armed with missiles having nuclear warheads. Automated systems based on the sonobuoy have been created abroad; they are designed to detect submarines and warn and guide antisubmarine forces, whose search potential is thus increased. The detection range of a sonobuoy depends on the type of hydroacoustic equipment on the buoy, the sea conditions, and the characteristics of the target submarine; it varies from several hundred meters to several kilometers. The effective distance of the radio link between a sonobuoy and an airplane can reach several tens of kilometers. The weight and size of a sonobuoy depend on its purpose and on the type of carrier.


Karlov, L. B., and E. I. Shoshkov. Gidroakustika v voennom dele. Moscow, 1963.
Khorbenko, I. G. Zvuki v morskikh glubinakh. Moscow, 1962.


References in periodicals archive ?
Production of the sonobuoys will take place at Sparton's facility in DeLeon Springs, Florida, facility and Ultra's Columbia City, Indiana, facility.
Sonobuoys are air launched expendable, electro-mechanical anti-submarine warfare acoustic sensors designed to relay underwater sounds associated with ships and submarines.
Based on historical practice, Sparton anticipates that the Navy will assist in funding Sparton's transition to independently developing, producing and selling sonobuoys.
Harris Corporation (NYSE: HRS) has been awarded contracts to provide Boeing (NYSE: BA) with sonobuoy launching technology for the US Navy's P-8A anti-submarine aircraft, the company said.
However, stringent regulations, high costs associated with deployment and monitoring of sonobuoys, technical limitations, etc.
GEDAR is an anycast, geographic and opportunistic protocol that tries to deliver a packet from a source node to some sonobuoys. A recovery mode procedure based on the depth adjustment of the void node is used to route data packet when it get stuck at a void node[8].
Rise in maritime disputes is one of the major factors behind the increase in procurement of sonobuoys
"These roles require an aircraft that can carry torpedoes, as well as being fitted with a broad range of sensors, including radar and sonobuoys, which are operated from the rear of the cabin by a team of specialists.
Their offerings will also include anti- submarine warfare vessels,submarine safety equipment and sonobuoys,among others,Mahindra Defence said in a statement.
Navy could significantly increase the number of sonobuoys it plans to deploy off the Pacific Coast.
Examples include simultaneous real-time display and tracking of (1) visual sightings and behavior with acoustic cetacean detections from a small plane deploying sonobuoys, and (2) sighting locations relative to sound mitigation distances regulate d by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) for potential disturbances such as seismic and sonar vessel sounds and other nearby vessels and sightings.