-U.S. Navy C-MK-1 Shadowgraph mine-hunting side scan sonar built as a collaboration among U.S. Navy Mine Countermeasures Station, Panama City, Florida, Westinghouse and Clevite. Unit uses focused beams and a bottom following towfish.


Kelvin-Hughes introduces the “Fishermans Asdic.”

- A deep ocean “Lateral Echo Sounder” is designed at Columbia University Hudson Laboratories

-Work begins on GLORIA (Geological Long-Range Inclined ASDIC) begins at the National Institute of Oceanography.

-Scripps Institution of Oceanography introduces FISH (Fully Instrumented Submersible Housing).

-At a convention of the Marine Technology Society in San Diego, Martin Klein with E.G.&G. introduces the first commercial dual-channel towed side scan sonar system.


-Two War of 1812 shipwrecks, Hamilton and Scourge were found nearly intact in Lake Ontario 1n 340 feet of by Ken McMillan and Dan Nelson of the Canada Centre for Inland Water using a Klein Side Scan Sonar.

-The HMS Breadalbane, the most northernmost shipwreck, is found with in 340 feet of water with a Klein Side Scan Sonar operated by Garry Kozak.


-George A. Gilmour of Westinghouse Electric Corp.,presents a paper “Hybrid Focusing for Side-Look Sonar” at the Acoustical Society of America, Orlando, Florida.

-A Klein side scan sonar played a critical role in the discovery    of the famed ocean liner—RMS Titanic which had hit an icebergand sank in the North Atlantic in 1912. For an expedition Dr. Robert Ballard of the Woods Hole Oceanograhic Institution, a special deep Klein side scan sonar, operated by Klein engineer Terry Snyder, was mounted on the deep water-towed apparatus—ARGO.

-The AMS 120 Deep towed 120 kHz is introduced by Williamson Associates.

-The Explorer 6000 deep towed side scan sonar is introduced by Oceaneering International.-The TOBI deep towed side scan sonar is introduced by Southampton Oceanographic Centre.


-Martin Wilcox files patent US5142502A, “Microcomputer-based side scanning sonar system”. Wilcox used an Apple 2E computer to display the side scan sonar data.

-The AMS 60 deep towed side scan sonar is introduced by Williamson Associates.

- Ralph Wilbanks locates the confederate Civil War submarine H.L. Hunley with side scan sonar while leading a NUMA team funded by famed author Clive Cussler.

-The MR1 side-scan sonar is a special type of seafloor imaging system that creates maps of seafloor terrain over wide swaths. The HAWAII MR1 (the name stands for HIG Acoustic Wide-angle Imaging Instrument, Model Revision 1) was designed by the Hawaii Mapping Research Group (HMRG) at the University of Hawaii in 1991.


-Klein Associates, Inc. introduced its Klein 3000 side scan sonar.

-The Orion deep towed side scan sonar is introduced by the U.S. Navy.

-Humminbird introduces its first “Side Imaging” sonar.

-Sonardyne, UK, introduces the Soltice Sidescan Sonar with focused beams integrated with swath bathymetry.

-The IMI 30 deep towed side scan sonar is introduced by Hawaii Mapping and Research Group. -DeepVision AB introduces the DeepEye 340 and hull-mounted DeepEye340 side scan sonar systems.


--A group of veteran shipwreck divers, led by New Jersey attorney Joe Mazraani, used a Klein side scan sonar and they found the sunken U-550 German submarine; Garry Kozak (GK Consulting) was contracted for the sonar operation.

-The SeaFox mine neutralization system delivered by ATLAS North America with an L-3 Klein 5000 V2 Side Scan Sonar proved its effectiveness in performing unmanned mine countermeasure missionS.

-L-3 Klein Associates introduces the Klein 7180 improved Long-Range Sonar (LRSSS) designed by Lloyd Huff and Peter Runciman. Imagenex introduces  its new Model 878 Side Scan Sonar running two simultaneous sonars on each side at different sound wavelengths.

-Edgetech introduces the 2205, a tri-frequency side scan sonar system.  -Klein Marine Systems introduces new MA-X View 600 Side Scan Sonar with Klein Blue Technology.


-France-based ECA Group successfully completes the sea trials of its UMISAS sonar for both autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) and Towed Sonars of the mine countermeasures vessels (rMCM) programme.

-NAVSEA's Supervisor of Salvage and Diving (SUPSALVE) locates with a side scan sonar and recovers a downed Navy MH-60S helicopter from a depth of 19,075 feet off the coast of Okinawa, Japan


The history of Side Scan Sonar is somewhat difficult to study. Most of the early developments occured during and after World War II, so it was secret and classified. There were developments in the United Kingdom, Germany, the United States, France, Canada and elsewhere. There were also some developments in civilian research institutions but these systems were typically "one-off" prototypes and the work was not heavily publicized.

The invention of the World Wide Web and the Internet in 1989 and the introduction of search engines began to make a vast increase in the information available. However much of the early secret work in the field remains unpublished and some may never appear.

In order to try to make a summary of the history of the field I have attempted to make a timeline of technical developments and notable finds in the field. I have tried to recognize individuals, institutions and companies that helped (and continue to help) to contribute progress.

-In the early part of the 20th century sonar was mostly used by the military for looking for enemy ships and submarines. It was also used by a number of fisheries.

-First commercial Fathometer installed. ASDIC Cockchafer developed in U.K.