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Loch Goil Noise Range

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Range Marker, 2008, Fox
Range marker

Loch Goil Noise Range is used to assess the noise signatures of Navy vessels and is maintained by defence contractor QinetiQ.

One of three such ranges maintained in Scotland, the others are located at Loch Fyne, and Rona between the Isle of Skye and the Scottish mainland.

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. The Loch Fyne Noise Range is used for underway ranging of surface ships, and the Rona Noise Range is used for underway ranging of submarines.

The Royal Navy maintains an online information service about the test facility within Loch Goil, and the closure of the loch, while trials are in progress, is signalled by the display of large red flags at Douglas Pier and Carrick Castle Pier.


The main facilities are based near the head of the loch at Douglas Pier and include a range control room, workshop, conference room, staff offices, and accommodation for some 30 staff.

Loch Goil is primarily a static range, where hydrophones are spaced evenly around the vessel under test, with a further hydrophone located on the seabed. The underwater experimental area covers the upper half of the loch, occupying an area of approximately 0.5 km2 in the centre of the Loch, with a depth of 82 metres. Various tests can be conducted at the range, which can measure the acoustic signatures of warships, submarines, torpedoes, and underwater test vehicles. Static testing of vessels moored to buoys can be undertaken, in order to determine the individual acoustic contributions of equipment operating on board, and to carry out testing of their active and passive sonar equipment.

The range area is controlled by a range closed marker located near the western shore, just north of Carrick Castle, and the facility also has the use of the pier at Carrick Castle, where a guard boat may be moored. The static test area to the south of Douglas Pier is marked by buoys.

Maytime and Newt

The range operates a floating test laboratory called Maytime, a modern, advanced replacement for the original craft, also called Maytime, which was basically a dumb lighter which had been fitted with a hut, mast and derrick. Maytime is supported by satellite platform to the south, which is known as the Newt.


The Maytime, 2008, Fox
The Maytime
Carrick Castle pier, 2008, Fox
Carrick Castle pier
Carrick Castle pier, guard boat and submarine in background, 1988, Fox
Carrick Castle pier, guard boat and
submarine in background, 1988

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Aerial views



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