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L3 Marketing Sounders in N. America

L3 Communications has begun marketing shallow water echo sounders to the North American dredging market. Will Billings displayed the company's single beam sounders at the Dredging '02 conference in Orlando in May, and David Lane exhibited at the June WEDA XXII meeting in Broomfield, Colorado in June.

The HydroStar 4300 is a portable single beam sounder designed for shallow water applications, and includes chart recorder and digital output, date, time, depth in meters, feet and fathoms, and position information from an interfaced GPS system. It has ports for computer and sound velocity profiler and is compatible with major survey software.

With an $8700 price tag, the HydroStar 4300 caught the interest of attendees at the WEDA meeting, said Lane, who is SeaBeam's technical marketing manager. He is in the midst of recruiting manufacturer’s representatives for the North American market, and will announce them soon, he said. Will Billings is director of marketing and sales.

The company also offers shallow, mid-depth, and deep water multibeam systems. These are the SEA BEAM 1180 (180 kHz) and the SEA BEAM 1050 (50 kHz), which can be used for surveys in navigation channels, and the SEA BEAM 2120 (20 kHz) and SEA BEAM 3012 (12kHz) for deep water surveys.

L3 Communications acquired SeaBeam Instruments of Massachusetts in 1999 and ELAC-Nautik of Kiel, Germany in 1998. Both companies had been manufacturing sonar equipment for decades. SeaBeam began in the early 1960's as General Instruments, and delivered their first two multibeam systems to the U.S. Navy in 1964. Their expertise continued to be in multibeam, and they have sold more than 150 multibeam systems over the years.

ELAC-Nautik has been in business since the 1920's, manufacturing transducers, naval acoustic products, and single beam survey sounders in their Kiel, Germany facility.

L3 Communications is a New York-based holding company with interests in defense and government-related security hardware. It has numerous divisions around the United States, and the SeaBeam/ELAC-Nautik company’s report to the Ocean Systems Division headquartered in Sylmar, California. Their acquisition of SeaBeam was finalized on March 17, 1999, and after the sale all manufacturing for the multibeam sounders moved to ELAC's facility in Kiel, Germany from East Walpole, Massachusetts. The Kiel facility employs about 180 people, who engineer and manufacture all the marine electronics equipment in the product line.

The SeaBeam offices have a sales, service and support staff of seven employees, and moved to Norwood, Massachusetts earlier this year. Their territory is North, Central and South America and Japan, while staff from the Kiel office handle sales throughout the rest of the world.

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