Fundamentals of Sonar

Book your place

This course is designed as a follow on to the Introduction to Sonar course.

The sonar course aims to provide an in-depth understanding of underwater acoustic principles, sonar technology and applications; underpinned by the physical principles and analysis. The sonar course is suitable for those requiring a rapid introduction to advanced sonar technology, its specification and applications; particularly:

  • Hardware and software design engineers new to sonar system design
  • Naval personnel involved in sonar commissioning or its application
  • Procurement/purchasing managers requiring to prepare tenders or specifications
  • Design managers
  • Project managers
  • Installation and maintenance engineers
  • Sales engineers.

To register your interest and be notified when the course dates are confirmed, please contact [email protected].

Key information

Next start date:

19th – 21st April 2023


Bournemouth University, Talbot Campus


3 days

Entry requirements:

Delegates for this sonar course will be expected to have a basic understanding of sonar terminology and underwater acoustics. A knowledge of more complex mathematics (complex numbers and calculus) would also be beneficial

Course details

This three day sonar training course is intended as a follow on to the Introduction to Sonar course, enabling you to progress from an introductory level through to advanced topics within one week.

This course will include the following topics:

Acoustic wave theory

  • Complex representation of fields
  • Vibration and acoustics
  • Characteristic lengthy scales
  • Wave number representation
  • Interaction of sound with structures.

Transducer technology / array performance

  • Transducer materials
  • Sonar transducer construction and physical analysis
  • Transducer equivalent circuits and array performance analysis.

 Signal processing and displays

  • Digital signal processing
  • Time series and frequency spectra
  • Detection theory
  • Pulse design
  • Dynamic range and normalisation.

Target echo strength

  • Derivation of TES for a simple sphere
  • Experimental measurement of TES
  • TES experiments
  • Target Scattering Physics.

Acoustic beams and beamforming

  • Array directivity theory and approximations
  • Computational requirements for beamforming
  • Shading and adaptive beamforming
  • Beam coverage and bearing accuracy.

Sidescan and autonomous underwater vehicle sonars

  • Sidescan sonar characteristics and geometry
  • Synthetic aperture sonar
  • Bathymetric sonars
  • AUVs and their sonars.

Fundamentals of towed arrays

  • Array construction and performance
  • Left/right ambiguity
  • Beam shading, shape correction and range focusing.

Sonar target recognition

  • Acoustic and motion classification clues
  • Manual and automatic classification techniques
  • Passive, active and intercept sonar recognition.

The sonar equation

  • Pitfalls in the use of the sonar equation
  • Theory and practice of sonar detection
  • Variability and degradation
  • Synthetic acoustic environments.

Radiated noise

  • Submarine noise sources
  • Acoustic signature reduction
  • Modelling structural response
  • Cavitation
  • Acoustic Radiation


  • Propagation loss
  • Simple spherical spreading mathematics
  • Propagation paths
  • Shadow zones
  • Propagation modelling

How to apply

We are now able to take bookings for this course, so please book your place via our Eventbrite registration form.

If you have any further questions about the course, please email: [email protected].

Terms and conditions including cancellations

All cancellations must be received in writing and sent to the address stated above. If you cancel by giving us 14 days or more notice before the course starts, you will receive a refund of your course fee, less an administration fee of 20% of that course fee. If you cancel less than 14 days before the course starts the full course fee will be charged. A substitute delegate can be named at any time before the course starts with no additional charge. Course fees must be received within 28 days of booking or 14 days before the course starts, whichever is earlier. Bookings are not considered confirmed until payment has been received in full.

It may be necessary for reasons beyond Bournemouth University’s control, including in response to any UK Government legislation, rules, regulations and/or guidance relating to the COVID-19 pandemic (“COVID Rules”) to change the content, timing, delivering staff, the date and/or the venue of the course. Any such changes will, as far as is possible and reasonable, be notified to you in advance, but whether notified or not, Bournemouth University accepts no liability in respect of any changes. Insofar as any COVID Rules are in force at the time of the course, Bournemouth University will put in place all appropriate cleansing, social distancing and other measures and it will be your responsibility to adhere to these measures for the duration of the course.   

In the unlikely event of course cancellation by Bournemouth University, you will automatically receive a full refund of the course fee but Bournemouth University disclaims any further liability. For this reason you are advised not to book travel or accommodation more than two weeks before the start of the course.

Additional information

Statistics shown throughout this page are taken from Unistats and BU institutional data unless otherwise stated.