Loch Fyne Noise Range
The Loch Fyne Noise Range is used to assess the noise signatures of Navy vessels and is maintained by defence contractor QinetiQ, and is located about two miles southwest of St Catherine's on the eastern shore of the loch.
The Loch Fyne Noise Range is used for underway ranging of surface ships. The Loch Goil Noise Range is used for the static ranging of all types of vessels and the underway ranging of surface ships with the maximum speed limitations imposed by the size of the ship, and the Rona Noise Range is used for underway ranging of submarines.
Originally listed by the Inter-Agency Committee on Marine Science and Technology (IACMST) as a Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA) facility, the site does not specifically appear in the assets listed by either QinetiQ or Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), the two organisations which took over DERA's operations when the agency was split in 2001, but is referred to in QinetiQ's description of the maritime ranges it has available.
Loch Fyne is an underway range configured with hydrophones covering each target aspect, Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS), acoustic tracking, and communications. It is able to accommodate surface vessels travelling at speeds up to 20 knots, and submerged vessels up to 14 knots. The experimental area measures approximately 5 km x 1 km with a depth of 140 metres.
The shore facilities lie within a securely fenced compound containing the main range control room, with a pair of smaller brick buildings behind. On the shore below the compound there is a further small green hut, together with a mooring point and slipway.
The position of the test range is indicated by a small pontoon which lies offshore, and carries a small hut.
Two sets of leading lights, one located at Leanach, about six miles southwest of the range control, and another on Strone point near the entrance of Loch Shira to the north west, serve as references for vessels underway on the range, to ensure that they are sailing the correct course relative to the pontoon and underwater monitoring equipment.
A shoreside hut, across the road from the control building, is assumed to hold connections for equipment located in the loch and on the pontoon. To the south of the hut are two slipways that lead from the shore into the loch, the more northerly of the two being constructed of metal, while the more southerly slipway is little more than a cleared passage from the shore to the water.
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