The Seneca Lake Sonar Test
Facility at Dresden, N.Y., area
map) is a field station of the Naval Sea
Systems Command. The Test Facilities and Operations Division of the Engineering
Test and Evaluation Department manage the test facility.
The facility performs test and evaluation of equipment ranging from single
element transducers to complex sonar arrays and systems. This world-class
facility is particularly well-known for its massive lift and power capabilities.
All sonar and acoustic testing is carried out by a staff of highly qualified
acoustic testing professionals on systems and equipment of all sizes. For
example, an entire sonar suite (mounted in its sonar compartment) has been
tested at Seneca Lake.
Seneca Lake is the Navy's primary active instrumented calibration and test
facility. Located in a deep freshwater lake and open all year, the facility
conducts all types of research and development. It is also world-renowned for
its testing and evaluation of major projects requiring relatively deep water
with fixed underwater geometry with heavy load-handling and/or electrical power
There is easy access to the test facility by several major highways. It is
within an hour's travel time of either Syracuse or Rochester airports in Western
New York State. Large test items or systems may be brought to Seneca Lake from
the Atlantic Ocean or the Great Lakes via the New York Barge Canal System. The
canal system can accommodate barges up to 12.2-m (40-ft) wide and 61-m (200-ft)
Two instrumented test barges, the System Measurement Platform (SMP) and Remote
Calibration Platform (RCP), are the primary measurement and calibration
resources for the facility. The facility can accommodate all other test and
calibration equipment deemed necessary, as there is an abundance of power,
handling capability, and room to support all special requirements. The SMP is
permanently moored near the center of lake approximately 2.6-Km (1.3 miles) from
the western shore. Transit to the SMP takes approximately 5 minutes from shore.
Two equipment-handling barge and numerous transport boats serve the test
The Facility has the potential to handle test fixtures, systems, or equipment
weighing up to 200-Mg (200-ton). Such equipment can be lowered on pipe shafting
and rotated in azimuth down to water depths of 153-m (502-ft).
The resources of Seneca Lake have been utilized by many organizations over the
years, including agencies of the federal government (Department of Defense
(DoD), Department of the Navy (DoN)), universities, foreign governments, state
and local agencies, and private industry. The facility has also benefited from
its proximity to an extensive shore support network that includes the nearby
complex of academic institutions.
The cost of conducting tests at Seneca Lake is substantially less than any
similar at-sea assessment, while providing a more flexible and responsive
testing and evaluation environment. In addition, the fairly constant and more
predictable weather and water conditions of Seneca Lake make it a testing site
of choice for major, large-scale projects, especially in a time-constrained
Machining and fabrication capabilities also exist at the facility, offering the
ability of quick repair or manufacture of required test gear and/or fixtures.