General Dynamics Canada Introduces Underwater Mine Avoidance Sonar System

May 16, 2011 | News Release

OTTAWA, ON, May 16, 2011 - General Dynamics Canada today announced the release of TrailBlazer, a high-frequency, high-resolution sonar system specifically designed for mine and obstacle avoidance (MOAS) on patrol vessels, corvettes, frigates and destroyers operating in littoral waters. TrailBlazer combines wideband transmissions, high directivity and an advanced operator interface to provide superior detection capability against mines and other threats to shallow-water operations.

"With 250,000 sea mines in the inventories of over 50 navies worldwide, mines represent an ever-increasing threat to coastal and waterway security, especially in littoral waters," said David Ibbetson, vice president and general manager of General Dynamics Canada. "TrailBlazer's power, range and resolution make it a very effective solution against such underwater littoral mine threats."

General Dynamics Canada has more than 40 years of experience providing airborne and naval sonar systems to the United Kingdom, Australian and Japanese navies. The company provided all of the sonar systems on the Canadian Navy's Halifax-class frigates and is currently providing the acoustic processors on the upgraded CP-140 Aurora maritime patrol aircraft and the new CH-148 Cyclone maritime patrol helicopter.

The product is a result of a co-development effort between General Dynamics Canada and Marport. Marport is a leading developer of advanced sonar technology for commercial and military applications. TrailBlazer combines Marport's highly-flexible Software-Defined Sonar® transceiver with General Dynamics' open architecture, digital signal processing suite and graphical user interfaces.

"TrailBlazer delivers the best of both worlds: on the hardware side, customers get one platform for many different applications, which lowers cost, and allows the device to be field upgradeable," said Karl Kenny, President and CEO of Marport. "While on the software side, customers get a reconfigurable architecture that enables extremely complex applications."

The TrailBlazer sonar detects surface, moored and seabed mines and provides high resolution real-time 3-D forward-looking sonar capability for safe navigation. The high directivity achieved through the narrow horizontal receive beams and variable horizontal transmission sector make the TrailBlazer sonar well-suited for use in mine and obstacle avoidance in shallow water with highly variable topography.


General Dynamics Canada is a premier provider of defence electronic systems and a leading systems integrator of complete Command, Control, Communication, Computing, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) solutions. The company has established an international pedigree for excellence in the production of technology-based, integrated solutions for land, airborne and maritime applications. More information about the company is available at:

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