In an historic breakthrough in underwater communications made possible by the use of a Benthos ATM 885 Telesonar Acoustic Modem, the US Navy has completed its latest series of tests in which the submarine USS Dolphin, while cruising at a depth of 400 feet, was able to successfully send several e-mail messages via the internet to facilities located ashore.
This is the first time that a submarine, operating at submerged depth and speed, has been able to communicate without giving away its position by raising an antenna or surfacing. The achievement represents a dramatic step change in undersea technology.
Acoustic modems send digital data underwater using sound energy (normal electromagnetic waves will not penetrate through the water). The data, which includes words, pictures, charts, and other information, can be sent over great undersea distances without the requirement for wires. The e-mail messages sent by the Dolphin were received by repeater buoys which transferred the messages to the shore and to the Internet. The Dolphin also communicated with other submerged modems, demonstrating the ability to communicate with and control various underwater devices. The ground-breaking tests are being conducted in support of the Seaweb and Sublink 2000 initiatives, orchestrated and funded by the U.S. Navy's Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) Center in San Diego, California in cooperation with Benthos.