SOSUS (Sound Surveillance System)

SOSUS (Sound Surveillance System) consists of fixed undersea acoustic networks of passive hydrophone detector arrays deployed in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Over the years (SOSUS was conceived in the 1950s) it was inevitable that the network gradually expanded as increments were added to enlarge the coverage. Most of these additions were the subject of various classified programmes, of which most details remain secret apart from isolated programme code names. Hydrophones are located at intervals of 5 to 15 miles along a linking cable connected to shore station(s). Similar shore stations are understood to exist beyond the USA (for example, the Aleutian Islands, Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Italy, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Spain, Turkey and the UK).

In the SOSUS the raw data are passed to local centres for initial processing and thence to regional centres. From the regional centres the processed data are passed to main evaluation centres which combine the data with information from other sources.

Funding of the SOSUS programme remains fairly constant, but security classification prevents further information. Considerable funding for both development and procurement is likely for at least 10 years. It is understood that the Canadian government is considering the installation of a similar system to SOSUS to detect submarines beneath the ice cap and in Canadian territorial waters.

The ultimate objective for the SOSUS is the complete integration of all undersea surveillance sensor systems into a fully co-ordinated and centrally controlled network, IUSS (Integrated Underwater Surveillance System).

Operabonal Status: In operational service on a worldwide basis.

This information is condensed from "Jane's Underwater Warfare Systems," 1992.1993.

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