Home' Asia Pacific Defence Reporter : APDR October 2015 Contents 86 Asia Pacific Defence Reporter OCT 2015
Let’s start with some background – a brief
history of the company, please.
Sonartech [Pty Ltd] was founded in 1987, initially
focussed on improving the acoustic intercept
capabilities in the Australian Oberon submarines. The
company quickly established itself as a provider of
bespoke acoustic processors for RAN submarines.
In the mid 90’s the company’s capability in intercept
ranging attracted interest from the then STN Atlas
Elektronik GmbH, now Atlas Elektronik GmbH, and in
1998 Sonartech Atlas [Pty Ltd] was established as a
Joint Venture between the two entities.
In 2006 we expanded through the acquisition
of Acoustic Technologies [Pty Ltd] (AT). Sonartech
and AT had worked together previously on projects
and in fact Acoustic Technologies had worked with
Atlas Elektronik separately. This coming together was
seen as a natural extension for both; it expanded the
capabilities and product line of Sonartech Atlas and
enhanced the global reach for the AT products.
Founded in 1989 Acoustic Technologies was
recognised as a leader in the development and
delivery of secondary and tertiary acoustic analysis
systems (now the standard used in the ADF), data
recording systems and systems for receiving and
processing sonobuoy data.
How would you describe your relationship with
the parent company – an Australian shopfront
or something more?
When the JV was established it was not the intention
for it to be a shopfront for Atlas, in fact Atlas already
had a subsidiary in Australia, STN Atlas Australia. At
the time STN Atlas Australia would have been the
more traditional shopfront, whilst Sonartech Atlas was
a development house providing capabilities for the
Atlas systems. The original concept was to integrate
Sonartech technology into the Atlas submarine system
line up, specifically the ISUS and CSU systems,
with the first element being the intercept and ranging
capability as an integral component of a submarine
torpedo defence system.
Since then we have extended our role as a
supplier into the Atlas Group, now developing and
supplying acoustic analysis systems, sonobuoy
processing systems and acoustic recorders.
However we have also taken on the traditional roles
of a shopfront and now represent the Atlas Group
in Australia and New Zealand but this has not
been to the detriment of our in house development
capabilities and activities.
The relationship with Atlas has been highly
beneficial, in many areas, from joint R&D to supporting
them overseas. We now have staff who have been
to sea and conducted trials in the submarines of our
overseas customers which builds their experience
and gives them a different perspective. In fact it’s fair
to say that without the Atlas relationship Sonartech
would be a page in history.
What are your current activities in Australia?
Our Australian activities can be divided into three
elements. New deliveries for the ADF, support (ISS)
for our equipment in service with the ADF and the
projects we are undertaking for export.
We are currently finalising the delivery of the Digital
Voice Recording System (DVRS) for the ANZAC’s, it
has already been installed in the Hydrographic ships,
SML’s, Minehunters and the Sail Training Ship Young
Endeavour. It is to go into Collins in the future as well.
In the ISS realm we provide support for the
Sonartech equipment in Collins, the analysis systems
being used by the AJAAC, and support to the
management activities signature.
A lot of people don't realise what equipment
Sonartech has fitted in Collins, most people are
surprised to find out that we have supplied SATEPS
(intercept and ranging sonar), the Towed Array
Converter Card, the digital interface for the distributed
array (AIDA), the sonar recording system (SDRS),
the console computers (SXC’s) and the self noise
monitoring system (Circe).
I understand that you have had some export
success; please describe what has been
That’s correct - in fact last year 45% of our turnover
came from our export activities. We have delivered
sonar and analysis systems to customers around
the world, with our systems at sea with the navies of
Israel, South Korea, Portugal, Greece and Turkey.
Our primary exports have been in the areas of
acoustic analysis systems and intercept and ranging
sonars. Our intercept and ranging sonars are in
service with or under contract to seven nations
and we’ve exported more than 70 acoustic analysis
systems. More recently we’ve expanded the interest
in our sonobuoy processors and compact submarine
Atlas Elektronik M D Mark Baker (Atlas Elektronik)
KYM BERGMANN // CANBERRA
MANAGING DIRECTOR OF SONARTECH
ATLAS, MARK BAKER, SPEAKS WITH
APDR EDITOR KYM BERGMANN
Australia has a number of world class SMEs working in the defence domain.
One of those is Sonartech Atlas, which occupies a niche in systems integration and underwater technology.
17/09/2015 5:26 pm
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