JUNE 24, 2014– Kraken Sonar Systems Inc. announced today that it will collaborate with organizations from the public, private and non-profit sectors, using state-of-the-art underwater technology, to locate the historic ships of the ill-fated 1845 Franklin Expedition.

For more than 150 years, expeditions sent to the Canadian Arctic in an attempt to learn the fate of the Franklin expedition have increased our knowledge of one of the world’s most remote and unforgiving environments. The 2014 Victoria Strait Expedition is the most ambitious to date, with more partners and more sophisticated technologies than ever before striving to achieve a number of strategic goals. The use of multiple platforms has the potential to significantly increase the amount of Arctic seabed mapped this summer. Ice and weather conditions permitting, the team could exceed significantly the amount of ocean floor scanned and mapped during any previous expedition.

Four ships will serve as the main platforms: the Canadian Coast Guard’s CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier, the Royal Canadian Navy’s HMCS Kingston, the Arctic Research Foundation’s research vessel Martin Bergmann, and One Ocean Expeditions’ One Ocean Voyager. In addition, a number of additional vessels along with autonomous and remote-controlled underwater vehicles will be utilized. Together, these platforms, vessels and vehicles will enable the teams to deploy high-resolution sonar technologies in a carefully choreographed effort to survey and map the seabed while searching for evidence of Franklin’s lost ships.

Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC), an agency of the Department of National Defence, is involved in some of the new technologies that will be used in this year’s expedition. The Arctic Explorer, for example, is an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) made by International Submarine Engineering Ltd of Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, and equipped with an ultra high-resolution AquaPix® Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Sonar (INSAS) produced by Kraken Sonar Systems Inc. of St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. This year, DRDC will also conduct a series of experiments on the performance of sonar imaging technologies in extremely low water temperatures.


AquaPix® INSAS system integrated into DRDC's Arctic Explorer AUV.

AquaPix® INSAS system integrated into DRDC’s Arctic Explorer AUV.


Kraken’s AquaPix® INSAS generates seabed images with unprecedented image resolution and detail. The system is capable of providing seabed imagery with target detection resolutions better than 3cm out to a range of greater than 250m per side of an underwater vehicle (swath in excess of 500m). It also simultaneously produces 3D bathymetric data with bin resolutions better than 10cm x 10cm and depth accuracy in compliance with IHO special order requirements.

INSAS offers high resolution imagery at longer ranges than conventional side-scan sonar. This is done by replacing traditional sonar hardware with sophisticated signal processing software. The principle of INSAS is that the receive transducer array is “synthesized” in software by the coherent recombination of many sonar pings overlapping an area of interest.

INSAS is becoming a powerful tool for detailed seabed survey in addition to its original use as a naval mine detection sensor. This technology can provide very high resolution seafloor imagery and bathymetry over the full extent of the swath. SAS lends itself for use with AUVs because of the stable nature of these platforms.

Karl Kenny, Kraken President and CEO said, “We’re honoured to be participating in the 2014 Victoria Strait Expedition. Pardon the pun, but we think it’s extremely cool for our AquaPix® sonar technology to be deployed in this year’s Arctic expedition. In addition to searching for Franklin’s ships, we will be working closing with DRDC personnel to further the development of AUV/SAS techniques to enable rapid seabed mapping and 3D imaging of the seafloor in harsh environments.”

About Kraken Sonar Systems Inc.

Kraken is a marine technology company engaged in the design and development of high performance Synthetic Aperture Sonars and Acoustic Velocity Sensors for military and commercial applications. For more information, please visit www.krakensonar.com.

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Kraken Sonar Systems Inc.

Glenda Leyte, Marketing Manager

(709) 757-5757 extension 288