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Technology in Australia 1788-1988Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering
Table of Contents

Chapter 13

I Colonial Origins

II First World War

III Between The World Wars

IV The Second World War

V Post-second World War
i The United Kingdom Australia Agreement
ii The ADSS
iii Decline of Imported Work
iv Background Research and Development of the Department of Supply
v Technology in the Armed Services

VI After The Joint Project

VII Science And Decisions At The Top

VIII Armed Services Technology

IX New Tasks And Projects

X Transfer Of Research And Development

XI Acknowledgement



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Underwater Research

Investigations into the sonar detection of submarines, or more fundamentally, the underwater propagation of sound waves, was being stimulated world wide by the rapid advances in submarine design and of guided weapons (Ikara was to be one) being developed to counter them. The Royal Australian Navy's oceanographic surveys revealed that southern hemisphere oceans were significantly different bathymetrically from the northern ones. This was to lead to new staff requirements and new developments (described later). The long range transmission of sound by ducting and by bottom reflection were studied, and new frequencies of transmission were adopted for particular purposes.

Radio techniques developed for radar and later for radio-astronomy were adopted to submarine acoustics to achieve beam forming and steering. This gave the prospect of accurate bearing determination and the rejection of unwanted signals; thus greater sensitivity and longer ranges were achievable.

These researches[58] provided the background for the development of a number of underwater devices applicable to the future needs of the Royal Australian Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force. Included in these was an item which could be dropped by parachute from a maritime reconnaissance aircraft into the sea and then communicate submarine information to the parent aircraft. The requirement to include in a canister of manageable size a folded antenna array of hydrophones, a signal recording and analysis system, a radio transmitter and aerial, and a power supply was a technological challenge beyond the then state of the art.

To meet these stringent demands, WRE engineers made pioneering contributions to microcircuitry and miniaturization. Project NANGANA was the development of this experimental concept which was successfully demonstrated with the assistance of the Navy and the RAAF. Out of this technology came the project BARRA, which is described later.

Organisations in Australian Science at Work - Australia. Department of Supply; Weapons Research Establishment (W.R.E.)

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© 1988 Print Edition page 952, Online Edition 2000
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