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What is the full form of SONAR?

Full form of SONAR: Here, we are going to learn about the SONAR, full form of SONAR, overview, types of SONAR, differences between active and passive SONAR.
Submitted by Anushree Goswami, on November 29, 2019

SONAR: Sound Navigation and Ranging

SONAR is abbreviated as Sound Navigation and Ranging.


It is a certain kind of method that is based on the broadcast of the sound.


In the water, inside the surface, it is not easy to communicate or find the objects. SONAR helps to perform the communication, to find the objects and for navigation purpose. It is being done by the broadcast of the sound inside the water.

SONAR is much helpful for the NOAA scientists. To map the objects on the floor of the sea like shipwrecks, for the navigation to find out the underwater hazards, to establish the nautical charts, SONAR works for all.

SONAR full form

Image source: https://deepersonar.com/us/en_us/how-it-works/how-sonars-work


It is of two types,

  1. Active
  2. Passive

Difference between Active and Passive SONAR

Active Passive
It has transmitter and receiver. It has only receiver.
The transmitter generates the sound waves of high frequency in the direction of the target and the receiver receives the high-frequency sound waves replicated back from the target. It finds out the noise that comes from underwater objects. It only finds the sound waves that are traveling towards the receiver and does not generate any sound wave of its own.
Few animals use the echolocation system that is the same as active sonar to find the killers and target. Ex – Whales, Dolphins, etc. It is helpful for the scientific missions going underwater as they don’t want to get found.


  • For the detection of underwater objects, SONAR is the only and best thing we have. To find the depth of water, to navigate, for all purposes, SONAR is much useful.
  • To perform different activities inside the water, SONAR is useful.
  • If we compare radar or light waves with SONAR, it does not weaken inside much in the water.
  • It is a very precise method.
  • It is cheap and not too expensive to afford.


  • Inside the sea, there are many animals. The waves generated by the SONAR harm this marine life. Animals such as whales, dolphins, and etc. are threatened by these waves as they hamper with them.
  • It produces a lot of noise depending on the sound level generated by it.
  • As we go inside depth, the sound velocity changes which affect the acoustic waves of the SONAR. The energy of the acoustic wave gets refracted and since the ocean act as the lossy medium for these kinds of waves, the high level of sound waves are generated to compensate those losses. And which largely and badly affects the sea animals and humans, like divers, etc. inside the sea.

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