Cancellation of Towing Ship Interference in Passive SONAR in a Shallow Ocean Environment
Towed array sonars are preferred for detecting stealthy underwater targets that emit faint acoustic signals in the ocean, especially in shallow waters. However, the towing ship being near to the array behaves as a loud target, introducing additional interfering signals to the array, severely affecting the detection and classification of potential targets. Canceling this underlying interference signal is a challenging task and is investigated in this paper for a shallow ocean operational scenario where the problem is more critical due to the multipath phenomenon. A method exploiting the eigenvector analysis of spatio-temporal covariance matrix based on space time adaptive processing is proposed for suppressing tow ship interference and thus improving target detection. The developed algorithm learns the interference patterns in the presence of target signals to mitigate the interference across azimuth and to remove the spectral leakage of own-ship. The algorithm is statistically analyzed through a set of relevant metrics and is tested on simulated data that are equivalent to the data received by a towed linear array of acoustic sensors in a shallow ocean. The results indicate a reduction of 20-25dB in the tow ship interference power while the detection of long-range low SNR targets remain largely unaffected with minimal power-loss. In addition, it is demonstrated that the spectral leakage of tow ship, on multiple beams across the azimuth, due to multipath, is also alleviated leading to superior classification capabilities. The robustness of the proposed algorithm is validated by the open ocean experiment in the coastal shallow region of the Arabian Sea at Off-Kochi area of India, which produced results in close agreement with the simulations. A comparison of the simulation and experimental results with the existing PCI and ECA methods is also carried out, suggesting the proposed method is quite effective in suppressing the tow ship interference and is immensely beneficial for the detection and classification of long-range targets.
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