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Southeast Alaska Acoustic Measurement Facility - Ketchikan, Alaska

The Southeast Alaska Acoustic Measurement Facility (SEAFAC) is the Navy’s only West Coast asset for making high fidelity passive acoustic signature measurements. SEAFAC includes directive line arrays, data collection and processing systems for real-time data analysis and signature evaluation.

As the Navy's primary acoustic engineering measurement facility in the Pacific, SEAFAC provides the capability to perform RDT&E evaluations to determine the sources of radiated acoustic noise, to assess vulnerability, and to develop quieting measures.

Located in Behm Canal near Ketchikan, Alaska, the facility provides an ideal ship acoustic measurement site characterized by low ambient noise and minimal noise interference. SEAFAC supports submarine operations over a full range of speeds and depths required for underway tests during acoustic trials. SEAFAC is also capable of supporting submarine target strength measurements.

The facility consists of a site to collect acoustic signatures of submerged submarines underway, and a unique site to measure acoustic signatures of motionless (static) submerged submarines with various onboard machinery secured or under unloaded operation. Acoustic signatures can be collected for a variety of speeds and operating conditions as the submarine transits back and forth between the dual bottom-mounted acoustic arrays. At the static site, suspension barges lower the submarine on cables and position it between measurement arrays to evaluate acoustic signatures of individual machinery components.

The Static Site can test vessels of all sizes and types moored or suspended between surface barges. Submarines for example are suspended at various depths from the surface barges between two underwater arrays and the ship's propulsion systems are secured. Surface ships could be put on shore power with ship power and propulsion systems secured. Test personnel then obtain unique measurements on individual pieces of equipment and machinery. The signal processing and in-water hardware were designed to easily accommodate a variety of sponsors and requirements.

Click to view SEAFAC fact sheet on public safety measures

Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division
Southeast Alaska Acoustic Measurement Facility
1 Back Island
Ketchikan, AK 99901-5637

Driving Directions

From Ketchikan International Airport:

The airport is located on Gravina Island, across Tongass Narrows from Ketchikan. 
Take the airport ferry to the airport parking lot.
From the airport ferry parking lot, turn left and follow Tongass Highway north for approximately 11.5 miles.
Turn left onto North Point Higgins Road (just after Higgins Spur), then an immediate right onto Knudson Cove Road.
Follow the road approximately one quarter mile to the left turn to Knudson Cove Marina.
Go to the bottom of the hill, turn right into parking lot for the Marina. The transfer boat will be at the Marina's floats to transport to SEAFAC, Back Island.

Call SEAFAC (247-6289) prior to departing for Knudson Cove so that the boat will be dispatched for the pick-up.