Field measurements of sonic boom penetration into the ocean
Sohn, Robert A.
Vernon, Frank L.
Hildebrand, John A.
Webb, Spahr C.
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Six sonic booms, generated by F-4 aircraft under steady flight at a range of altitudes (610–6100 m) and Mach numbers (1.07–1.26), were measured just above the air/sea interface, and at five depths in the water column. The measurements were made with a vertical hydrophone array suspended from a small spar buoy at the sea surface, and telemetered to a nearby research vessel. The sonic boom pressure amplitude decays exponentially with depth, and the signal fades into the ambient noise field by 30–50 m, depending on the strength of the boom at the sea surface. Low-frequency components of the boom waveform penetrate significantly deeper than high frequencies. Frequencies greater than 20 Hz are difficult to observe at depths greater than about 10 m. Underwater sonic boom pressure measurements exhibit excellent agreement with predictions from analytical theory, despite the assumption of a flat air/sea interface. Significant scattering of the sonic boom signal by the rough ocean surface is not detected. Real ocean conditions appear to exert a negligible effect on the penetration of sonic booms into the ocean unless steady vehicle speeds exceed Mach 3, when the boom incidence angle is sufficient to cause scattering on realistic open ocean surfaces.
Author Posting. © Acoustical Society of America, 2000. This article is posted here by permission of Acoustical Society of America for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 107 (2000): 3073-3083, doi:10.1121/1.429336.
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