Importance of Training with Active Sonar and Weapon Systems
The Navy will continue periodic training activities, which include the use of active sonar in the Temporary Maritime Activities Area and weapon systems at sea that may use non-explosive or explosive munitions. The Navy will continue to implement mitigation measures to avoid or reduce potential impacts on marine species and the environment from training activities.
One of the Navy's top priorities is to defend against enemy submarine activity. To detect potential hostile submarines, the Navy uses both passive and active sonar. Torpedoes, in-water mines, and quiet submarines from potential enemies are threats to global commerce and national security. More than 90 percent of the world’s trade is carried by sea; therefore, protecting the sea is critical. Active sonar is the most effective method of detecting these threats. Sonar proficiency is complex and requires regular, hands-on training in realistic and diverse conditions.
Training at sea with explosives significantly enhances the safety of U.S. forces in combat and improves readiness and equipment reliability. Sailors must train in a variety of high-stress environments, including scenarios that involve the use of and exposure to explosive ordnance, to be prepared to respond to emergencies and national security threats.
Previous generation submarines were noisy and could be detected with passive sonar before they came close enough to deploy short-range weapons against a vessel. Extremely quiet, difficult-to-detect, diesel-electric submarines can approach close enough to deploy long-range weapons before entering a U.S. vessel’s passive sonar detection range. Active sonar has a longer detection range that is needed to allow Navy Sailors to detect, identify, and track quiet, modern submarines before they are close enough to attack.