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Norwegian Defence Research Establishment

FFI- FACTS
Sonar – an important tool for the Navy
Scientific tests. Killer whales with sensors that record the animals’
response to sonar signals. The tags are attached to the whale with
suction cups. (Photo: Sanna Kuningas)

The Nansen class frigates are new sonars? Do they have capabilities that about health, the environment and security/
the very backbone of the Royal the old equipment did not? safety. Environmental protection is obviously
Norwegian Navy constituting a flexible – Yes, they are far more advanced and they an important part of this.
combat system that can both hunt have a much greater range. Furthermore – But what about allied naval vessels that
submarines and combat surface ves- they make it easier for operators to classify are on exercise in Norwegian waters? How
sels and aircrafts. what they are looking for, for example a sub- do we know that they too respect the life in
marine. It’s always a challenge when hunting the sea?
Captain Bjørn Egenberg is in charge of the submarines to classify what is what under – We expect them to follow our rules
frigate service. water. – unless of course their own guidelines are
even stricter than ours. Restrictions on the
– The new frigates will form the backbone of Environmental consciousness use of active sonar is always adressed in our
Norway’s naval defense. They are tailor-made – Are naval officers concerned about marine exercise orders. It is also a topic that we
for us, and have the capability of executing life? discuss before the exercise begins.
a wider range of tasks than the old frigates, – Yes, absolutely. To the highest degree.

Sonars and the


both in national and international waters, Our task is to defend Norway’s interests, of Contacts:
says Bjørn Egenberg. which marine life is certainly included. The Erik.Sevaldsen@ffi.no

marine environment
– How important to Navy operations are the Royal Norwegian Navy is always concerned Petter-Helgevold.Kvadsheim@ffi.no

FFI is studying the effects of Nansen class sonars on


fish and marine mammals.

The objective is for the Royal the frequency range 1–8 kHz. While whereby they become less accessible to
Norwegian Navy (RNoN) to be able to this is very audible to both seals and the fishing fleet. Obviously, the Navy wishes
operate its sonars in an environmen- whales, most fish species will not be to avoid harming the marine resources, its
tally safe manner with as few opera- able to hear these signals. mission is to protect. FFI has therefore been
tional restrictions as possible. Active asked to study the effects of the new sonars
sonars transmit powerful sound In other parts of the world, a number of on marine life. The objective of the research
pulses (pings) under water. Reflected whale strandings have coincided with the use is to arrive at sensible regulations gover-
signals (echoes) can be used to of military sonar. This has given rise to the ning the use of sonar in Norwegian waters
determine the presence of for exam- suspicion that sonar signals may physically – rules that are scientifically based while
September 2006 Design/production FFI

ple submarines. The Nansen class harm marine mammals, or scare them to simultaneously adapted to the day to day
frigates will be equipped with sonars altered behavior that may in turn have cau- operations of the Nansen class frigates.
that transmit at lower frequencies sed the strandings. In connection with naval
– and thereby over greater ranges exercises in Norwegian waters, the Navy has Scientific cooperation
Flexible. The Nansen class frigates are the backbone of Norway’s future naval defense. The frigates will have the capability of combating submarines, – than the Navy has operated before. also been met with charges that the use of In order to access the national expertise,
surface vessels and air targets. Each of the frigates will have a NH-90 helicopter on board. (Photo: FMS) These sonars will transmit sound in sonar can harm fish or affect their behavior FFI appointed the “National Panel of Experts

P.O.Box 25 • NO-2027 Kjeller • Instituttveien 20 • NO-2007 Kjeller • Telephone +47 63 80 70 00 • www.ffi.no Norwegian Defence Research Establishment
Fish
Contrary to other species of fish, clupeid
Decision aid tool
fish (herring and brisling) are able to hear
signals in the frequency range of the sonars. In order to ensure that informa-
tion reaches operations plan-
Our studies also confirm that clupeid fish
ners, FFI is collaborating with
are more vulnerable than other fish species.
the Institute of Marine Research
Juvenile herring are particularly sensitive, to develop a decision aid tool to
even though the effect of sonar is not signi- assist in the planning and exe-
ficant at the stock level. It does not appear cution of sonar exercises. This
that the use of sonar affects the accessibi- tool will be placed on board the
lity of adult herring to the fisheries, but this new Nansen class frigates and
is being examined more closely. The effects integrates information about
of sonars on other fish species appear to be fishery activity and the presence
of different species in time and
minimal. Based on the effects that have been
space with information about the
discovered, restrictions have been imposed
sensitivity of individual species to
on the use of sonar in areas with a high Seals. The Department for Arctic Biology
(University of Tromsø), National Hospital of
acoustic signals and the applica-
presence of juvenile herring. Furthermore, to ble operational regulations. With
Norway (Rikshospitalet) and FFI have been
Nansen class. The frigates will be equipped with both hull mounted sonar, towed array sonar and helicopter operated dipping sonar. These transmit be on the safe side, restrictions have been studying how seals react to sonar signals. the decision aid tool, the Armed
powerful sound pulses in the 1-8 kHz frequency range, which may be potentially harmful to both fish, seals and whales. (Figure courtesy of FFI) (Photo: Erik Sevaldsen)
imposed on sonar exercises in areas having Forces can easily obtain an over-
a large presence of important ecological and view of the particular conside-
commercial fish species. This also applies to rations that must be taken into
on Sonar Effects on Marine Life”. This team national collaborators, FFI is carrying out a areas in which these species are intensively though the sonar source does not cause any account within a certain ocean
area in any given period of time.
of specialists comes from the University series of experiments to study the physiolo- fished. A safety zone from fish farms has panic reaction, most animals will endeavor
of Tromsø, the University of Oslo, the gical and behavioral effects of sonar signals also been established. to get away from it. This reduces the risk of
Norwegian Institute of Marine Research, the on fish and marine mammals. These studies them coming too close to the sonar source,
Norwegian Polar Institute the oil industry, have been carried out, or are in the process Marine mammals which could result in injury. In order to mini-
the Norwegian Veterinary School, the Royal of being carried out, on juvenile fish, adult Our aim is to minimize the risk of harm to mize the risk of harming marine mammals,
Norwegian Navy, and FFI. The group pos- fish, seals and whales. individual animals. As long as they are not sonar transmissions are not initialized until a
sesses civilian expertise in underwater aco- in the immediate vicinity of the sonar source safety zone around the sonar source is chec-
ustics and different areas within the field of Operational restrictions (closer than 100 m), it appears that marine ked for the presence of marine mammals.
marine biology (fish, marine mammals, beha- From what we already know about the Herring. The pie chart shows the assumed mammals are not directly harmed by sonar. Alternatively, transmissions might be initia-
vior and physiology) and military expertise effects of sonar signals on fish and marine mortality of herring spawn owing to a hypo- However, possible causal links between lized at reduced power to alert the animals
thetical sonar-intensive exercise in a spaw-
on the operational use of sonars. The group mammals, there is no basis for strict regu- development of decompression sickness and allow them to leave the danger zone.
ning area (marked red) compared to the daily
has identified the most important knowledge lations on the use of sonar in Norwegian natural mortality (marked black). Thus, sonar (the bends), a phenomenon that appears Sonar exercises are not carried out in areas
gaps and recommended effect studies to fill waters. Nevertheless, FFI recommends exercises will have no significant effect on to occur in certain species, and the use of where beaked whales are expected to be
herring stocks.
in these gaps. The panel has also been invol- certain restrictions on the use of sonars in active sonar is still obscure. Further more, encountered or where there is a high density
ved in recommending guidelines for the use areas having high presence of herrings and there are no studies that have looked at of other marine mammals. Special efforts
Decision aid tool. Operators will have
of sonars in Norwegian waters. marine mammals. As of today, we lack a sible balance between operational needs and potential injury (e.g. hearing injury) to marine should be made to avoid sonar transmissions access to information advising of any
complete understanding of how intense aco- environmental considerations. Operational mammals that range very close to a sonar at high speed or in constricted waters, as considerations that must be taken into
account. The map shows the distribution
Effect studies ustic signals affect marine life, but the aim regulations will be correspondingly updated source. Of the species of seals and whales this hampers the ability of the animals to get of fish.
In cooperation with its national and inter- of the guidelines is to establish the best pos- as we acquire greater understanding. that have been studied, it appears that away from the sonar source.
Fish
Contrary to other species of fish, clupeid
Decision aid tool
fish (herring and brisling) are able to hear
signals in the frequency range of the sonars. In order to ensure that informa-
tion reaches operations plan-
Our studies also confirm that clupeid fish
ners, FFI is collaborating with
are more vulnerable than other fish species.
the Institute of Marine Research
Juvenile herring are particularly sensitive, to develop a decision aid tool to
even though the effect of sonar is not signi- assist in the planning and exe-
ficant at the stock level. It does not appear cution of sonar exercises. This
that the use of sonar affects the accessibi- tool will be placed on board the
lity of adult herring to the fisheries, but this new Nansen class frigates and
is being examined more closely. The effects integrates information about
of sonars on other fish species appear to be fishery activity and the presence
of different species in time and
minimal. Based on the effects that have been
space with information about the
discovered, restrictions have been imposed
sensitivity of individual species to
on the use of sonar in areas with a high Seals. The Department for Arctic Biology
(University of Tromsø), National Hospital of
acoustic signals and the applica-
presence of juvenile herring. Furthermore, to ble operational regulations. With
Norway (Rikshospitalet) and FFI have been
Nansen class. The frigates will be equipped with both hull mounted sonar, towed array sonar and helicopter operated dipping sonar. These transmit be on the safe side, restrictions have been studying how seals react to sonar signals. the decision aid tool, the Armed
powerful sound pulses in the 1-8 kHz frequency range, which may be potentially harmful to both fish, seals and whales. (Figure courtesy of FFI) (Photo: Erik Sevaldsen)
imposed on sonar exercises in areas having Forces can easily obtain an over-
a large presence of important ecological and view of the particular conside-
commercial fish species. This also applies to rations that must be taken into
on Sonar Effects on Marine Life”. This team national collaborators, FFI is carrying out a areas in which these species are intensively though the sonar source does not cause any account within a certain ocean
area in any given period of time.
of specialists comes from the University series of experiments to study the physiolo- fished. A safety zone from fish farms has panic reaction, most animals will endeavor
of Tromsø, the University of Oslo, the gical and behavioral effects of sonar signals also been established. to get away from it. This reduces the risk of
Norwegian Institute of Marine Research, the on fish and marine mammals. These studies them coming too close to the sonar source,
Norwegian Polar Institute the oil industry, have been carried out, or are in the process Marine mammals which could result in injury. In order to mini-
the Norwegian Veterinary School, the Royal of being carried out, on juvenile fish, adult Our aim is to minimize the risk of harm to mize the risk of harming marine mammals,
Norwegian Navy, and FFI. The group pos- fish, seals and whales. individual animals. As long as they are not sonar transmissions are not initialized until a
sesses civilian expertise in underwater aco- in the immediate vicinity of the sonar source safety zone around the sonar source is chec-
ustics and different areas within the field of Operational restrictions (closer than 100 m), it appears that marine ked for the presence of marine mammals.
marine biology (fish, marine mammals, beha- From what we already know about the Herring. The pie chart shows the assumed mammals are not directly harmed by sonar. Alternatively, transmissions might be initia-
vior and physiology) and military expertise effects of sonar signals on fish and marine mortality of herring spawn owing to a hypo- However, possible causal links between lized at reduced power to alert the animals
thetical sonar-intensive exercise in a spaw-
on the operational use of sonars. The group mammals, there is no basis for strict regu- development of decompression sickness and allow them to leave the danger zone.
ning area (marked red) compared to the daily
has identified the most important knowledge lations on the use of sonar in Norwegian natural mortality (marked black). Thus, sonar (the bends), a phenomenon that appears Sonar exercises are not carried out in areas
gaps and recommended effect studies to fill waters. Nevertheless, FFI recommends exercises will have no significant effect on to occur in certain species, and the use of where beaked whales are expected to be
herring stocks.
in these gaps. The panel has also been invol- certain restrictions on the use of sonars in active sonar is still obscure. Further more, encountered or where there is a high density
ved in recommending guidelines for the use areas having high presence of herrings and there are no studies that have looked at of other marine mammals. Special efforts
Decision aid tool. Operators will have
of sonars in Norwegian waters. marine mammals. As of today, we lack a sible balance between operational needs and potential injury (e.g. hearing injury) to marine should be made to avoid sonar transmissions access to information advising of any
complete understanding of how intense aco- environmental considerations. Operational mammals that range very close to a sonar at high speed or in constricted waters, as considerations that must be taken into
account. The map shows the distribution
Effect studies ustic signals affect marine life, but the aim regulations will be correspondingly updated source. Of the species of seals and whales this hampers the ability of the animals to get of fish.
In cooperation with its national and inter- of the guidelines is to establish the best pos- as we acquire greater understanding. that have been studied, it appears that away from the sonar source.
Norwegian Defence Research Establishment
FFI- FACTS
Sonar – an important tool for the Navy
Scientific tests. Killer whales with sensors that record the animals’
response to sonar signals. The tags are attached to the whale with
suction cups. (Photo: Sanna Kuningas)

The Nansen class frigates are new sonars? Do they have capabilities that about health, the environment and security/
the very backbone of the Royal the old equipment did not? safety. Environmental protection is obviously
Norwegian Navy constituting a flexible – Yes, they are far more advanced and they an important part of this.
combat system that can both hunt have a much greater range. Furthermore – But what about allied naval vessels that
submarines and combat surface ves- they make it easier for operators to classify are on exercise in Norwegian waters? How
sels and aircrafts. what they are looking for, for example a sub- do we know that they too respect the life in
marine. It’s always a challenge when hunting the sea?
Captain Bjørn Egenberg is in charge of the submarines to classify what is what under – We expect them to follow our rules
frigate service. water. – unless of course their own guidelines are
even stricter than ours. Restrictions on the
– The new frigates will form the backbone of Environmental consciousness use of active sonar is always adressed in our
Norway’s naval defense. They are tailor-made – Are naval officers concerned about marine exercise orders. It is also a topic that we
for us, and have the capability of executing life? discuss before the exercise begins.
a wider range of tasks than the old frigates, – Yes, absolutely. To the highest degree.

Sonars and the


both in national and international waters, Our task is to defend Norway’s interests, of Contacts:
says Bjørn Egenberg. which marine life is certainly included. The Erik.Sevaldsen@ffi.no

marine environment
– How important to Navy operations are the Royal Norwegian Navy is always concerned Petter-Helgevold.Kvadsheim@ffi.no

FFI is studying the effects of Nansen class sonars on


fish and marine mammals.

The objective is for the Royal the frequency range 1–8 kHz. While whereby they become less accessible to
Norwegian Navy (RNoN) to be able to this is very audible to both seals and the fishing fleet. Obviously, the Navy wishes
operate its sonars in an environmen- whales, most fish species will not be to avoid harming the marine resources, its
tally safe manner with as few opera- able to hear these signals. mission is to protect. FFI has therefore been
tional restrictions as possible. Active asked to study the effects of the new sonars
sonars transmit powerful sound In other parts of the world, a number of on marine life. The objective of the research
pulses (pings) under water. Reflected whale strandings have coincided with the use is to arrive at sensible regulations gover-
signals (echoes) can be used to of military sonar. This has given rise to the ning the use of sonar in Norwegian waters
determine the presence of for exam- suspicion that sonar signals may physically – rules that are scientifically based while
September 2006 Design/production FFI

ple submarines. The Nansen class harm marine mammals, or scare them to simultaneously adapted to the day to day
frigates will be equipped with sonars altered behavior that may in turn have cau- operations of the Nansen class frigates.
that transmit at lower frequencies sed the strandings. In connection with naval
– and thereby over greater ranges exercises in Norwegian waters, the Navy has Scientific cooperation
Flexible. The Nansen class frigates are the backbone of Norway’s future naval defense. The frigates will have the capability of combating submarines, – than the Navy has operated before. also been met with charges that the use of In order to access the national expertise,
surface vessels and air targets. Each of the frigates will have a NH-90 helicopter on board. (Photo: FMS) These sonars will transmit sound in sonar can harm fish or affect their behavior FFI appointed the “National Panel of Experts

P.O.Box 25 • NO-2027 Kjeller • Instituttveien 20 • NO-2007 Kjeller • Telephone +47 63 80 70 00 • www.ffi.no Norwegian Defence Research Establishment