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HiPAP - Acoustic underwater positioning and navigation systems

HiPAP models overview

System HiPAP 502 HiPAP 452 HiPAP 352 HiPAP 351P HiPAP 102
Number of active elements 241 46 46 46 31
Max/recommended acoustic operating area
below vessel
200º / 200º 160º / 120º 160º / 120º 160º / 120º 120º / 120º
Minimum gate valve size required 20 in / 500 mm 20 in / 500 mm 14 in / 350 mm - 20 in / 500 mm
Transducer diameter 400 mm 400 mm 320 mm 345mm 460 mm
Angular accuracy* of X/Y directions
(1 sigma figure)
20dB S/N:0,06º
10dB S/N:0,10º
0dB S/N:0,30º
20dB S/N:0,10º
10dB S/N:0,15º
0dB S/N:0,40º
20dB S/N:0,10º
10dB S/N:0,15º
0dB S/N:0,40º
20dB S/N:0,18º
10dB S/N:0,23º
0dB S/N:0,40º
20dB S/N:0,14º
Accuracy dual mode operation, two-TD system* 20db S/N:0.042º - - - -
Narrow pointing receiver beam 10º 15º 15º 15º 15º
Operating range* 1 - 5000 m 1 - 5000 m 1 - 5000 m 1 - 4000 m 1 - 10000 m
Number of transponder channels, CW / Cymbal 56 / 500+ 56 / 500+ 56 / 500+ 56 / 500+ 30 / 50
Frequency band 21 - 31 kHz 21 - 31 kHz 21 - 31 kHz 21 - 31 kHz 10 - 15 kHz
Range detection accuracy* 0.02 m 0.02 m 0.02 m 0.02 m 0.02 m
Hull unit for automatic transducer deployment
through hull
Available Available Available - Available

* Position accuracy [°] can be calculated by √(X2 + Y2). Values are based on; use of Cymbal mode, free line of sight from transducer to transponder, no influence from ray bending, Signal to Noise ratio as specified in water in the 250 Hz receiver band, no error from heading/roll/pitch sensors. Operating ranges are typical and conservative, and are assumed by using KONGSBERG transponders with sufficient source level.

All HiPAP 351P models includes attitude sensors with different accuracies. HiPAP 351P includes MRU-H, HiPAP 351P-5 includes MRU-5, HiPAP 351P-MGC includes MGC IMU and HiPAP 351P-I includes HG9900 IMU.


It is very important to use transponders with strong enough output source level to obtain the highest S/N ratio and thereby also the best SSBL accuracy.

Two different product lines

We presently offer two different lines of Acoustic underwater positioning and navigation systems:

  • HiPAP family - High precision acoustic positioning system
  • µPAP - Small and portable acoustic positioning system

Principles for measurements & calculations

Our family of underwater positioning and navigation systems uses three different principles for measurements and calculations (SSBL, LBL and MULBL). Any combination of the three principles secures flexibility as well as a high degree of redundancy and accuracy.

SSBL - Super Short Base Line

The calculation of positioning is based on range and on vertical and horizontal angle measurements, from a single multi element transducer. The system provides three-dimensional transponder positions relative to the vessel. The HiPAP (High Precision Acoustic Positioning) systems is a leader within the use of these principles.

SBL - Short Base Line

The calculation of position is based on range, and vertical and horizontal angle measurements from a minimum of three hull mounted transducers. The baselines are between transducers on the vessel. A transponder is positioned relative to the vessel. KONGSBERG's SSBL system accuracy surpasses clearly the performances of this principle, so why have 3 or more hull penetrations for transducers when 1 is enough?

LBL - Long Base Line

The calculation of position is based on range measurements only. The ROV, a subsea module and the vessel are positioned relative to a calibrated array of subsea transponders.

MULBL - Multi-User Long Base Line

Multi-User Long Base Line (MULBL) hydroacoustic positioning system. Several individual vessels and Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV) units can now position themselves using the same seabed transponder array.

Operating Station & acoustic protocol

Acoustic Positioning Operating Station - APOS

Acoustic Positioning Operating Station - APOS

Cymbal – the new acoustic protocol

Todays HiPAP systems can use both Continuous Wave (FSK) and Cymbal acoustic protocols. Cymbal utilises wideband Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum (DSSS) signals. The Cymbal protocol transmits more energy into the water and thus has longer range, and together with uniqueness coding makes a number of new HiPAP features available.

Hydroacoustic positioning principles

A hydroacoustic positioning system consists of both a transmitter (transducer) and a receiver (transponder). A signal (pulse) is sent from the transducer, and is aimed towards the seabed transponder. This pulse activates the transponder, which responds immediately to the vessel transducer. The transducer, with corresponding electronics, calculates an accurate position of the transponder relative to the vessel.

Key HiPAP features

  • Unique spherical transducer design with up to 241 individual elements
  • Extraneous noise suppression techniques
  • Extremely narrow, ±5 degree listening beams
  • Extreme tracking range capabilities
  • True Multi-User LBL function
  • Comprehensive transponder range to support positioning operations
  • Reference output to dynamic positioning system

A wide range of applications

HiPAP is a family og hydroacoustic Super Short Base Line - SSBL or USBL, underwater positioning system, able to operate in shallow and deepwater areas to proven ranges to about 5000+ meters (MF) and 10000 meters (HiPAP10x - LF). It is a multi-purpose system used for a wide range of applications including towfish & towed platform tracking, seabed reference Dynamic Positioning of a vessel, high accuracy subsea metrology and positioning and telemetry and scientific research. Optional enhanced operation is available with Hydroacoustic Aided Inertial Navigation - HAIN. The HAIN system increases the HiPAP SSBL positioning accuracy by a factor of up to 300%.

Available systems