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Ultra Electronics Maritime Systems Awarded Contract With Alfred Wegengar Institute

Ultra Electronics Maritime Systems Awarded Contract With Alfred Wegenger Institute (AWI) For Polar And Marine Research

DARTMOUTH, NS, March 1, 2013: Ultra Electronics Maritime Systems Inc. (UEMS) is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a contract by the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) for Polar and Marine Research, Bremerhaven, Germany. Under the contract, UEMS will provide conventional acoustic and seismic variants of sonobuoys. These sonobuoys were originally developed for antisubmarine warfare during the Cold War, but this application is quite different.  

“Our goal is to identify the source of a well-known sound of yet unknown origin. In fact it is the most abundant sound inside the southern ocean – but it is present only during Antarctic wintertime. That makes its investigation rather difficult due to the ice covered sea, temperatures down to -50°C and the complete darkness of the polar night. The strange regularly pulsed signal has a total bandwidth of 50 Hz to 20,000 Hz, but most energy sits between 100 Hz and 300 Hz and it is audible almost continuously for several month every year. Our hypothesis is that the sound is produced by Antarctic Minke whales, the last great whale species with as yet unidentified vocal repertoire. During the next winter expedition to Antarctica we aim to establish this relation by looking for Minke whales from ship and helicopter, then drop sonobuoys as close to them as possible to record their vocalizations.” stated Dr. Lars Kindermann, Physicist in the Ocean Acoustic Group at AWI. “If we succeed, tens of thousands of hours of underwater recordings that were acquired in Antarctic waters by autonomous recorders during the last decade will gain scientific interpretation and allow to analyze the ecology, behavior and population development of this most abundant but probably least investigated of all baleen whale species.”

According to Dr. Fred Cotaras, Chief Technology Director, “UEMS particularly values this opportunity to see our high-performance low-frequency acoustic velocity sensor, the core of our DIFAR sonobuoy technology, being used for scientific and environmental research. We are optimistic that the AWI’s thought leadership in re-using our underwater defence technology will open new doors for us in environmental science.” To learn more about this research and the use of the DIFAR sonobuoy, please visit:


The Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) conducts research in the Arctic, Antarctic, and in oceans of temperate and high latitudes. The AWI coordinates polar research in Germany, and provides important infrastructure, such as the research icebreaker Polarstern and research stations in the Arctic and Antarctic for international scientific enterprises. The Alfred Wegener Institute is one of 15 research centers of the ‘Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft’ (Helmholtz Association), the largest scientific organization in Germany.  


Ultra Electronics Maritime Systems Inc. (UEMS) is an international leader in the development of equipment and systems for undersea surveillance and anti-submarine warfare (ASW). Established in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada in 1947, UEMS delivers sophisticated sonar systems to navies around the world including Multi-static Active Passive Sonar for the Dutch Navy, an Integrated Sonar Suite for the Royal Australian Navy, and the Surface Ship Torpedo Defence System for the Royal Navy. UEMS provides unique engineering, development, manufacturing, test, evaluation, and management capabilities to develop and deliver advanced electronic, electromechanical, and underwater sensor systems. For more information please visit

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