Beamforming when the sound velocity is not precisely known
Hinich, Melvin J.
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Beamforming is an integral part of most signal processingsystems in active or passive sonars. The delays used to generate a beam are functions of the sound velocity, which depends on temperature, salinity, and pressure. There is a loss in array gain if the delays are incorrectly set. This will occur when the sound velocity in the water surrounding the hydrophones is different from the velocity that was used to set the delays. This paper makes two points: (1) fixed delay line sonars suffer a loss in gain when the true sound speed in the water is different from the velocity that is used to set the delays, and (2) there are signal processing techniques for two- or three-dimensional arrays that yield source bearings that are independent of the true sound velocity. These techniques require variable time delays, which can be realized using digital processing.