The AWAC is perhaps the most well respected, sophisticated and frequently used acoustic Doppler profiler and directional wave gauge. Using Acoustic Surface Tracking (AST), the AWAC will make high quality wave measurements deployed up to 50 m below the surface. Further, the SUV measurement method will allow the AWAC to be deployed on a subsurface buoy if the total water depth is deeper than 50 m.
With the Nortek AWAC, you get a current profiler and a wave directional system in one unit. You can measure the current speed and direction in 1-meter thick layers from the bottom to the surface. Waves of all varieties are measureable; this includes long waves, storm waves, short wind waves, or transient waves generated by local ship traffic.
The AWAC is designed as a coastal monitoring system. It is small, rugged, and suitable for multi-year operation in tough environments. The mechanical design is all plastic and titanium to avoid corrosion. The AWAC is available in two transmit frequencies (1 MHz / 600 kHz) which allow for different deployment depths.
The sensor is usually mounted in a frame at the bottom, where it is protected from complications at the surface such as harsh weather, vandalism, and ship traffic. While safely located at the bottom it is operated in online or in stand-alone mode.
In stand-alone mode, the raw data are stored to the internal data logger and power comes from an external battery pack. A variety of options are available with maximum deployment lengths of 4 months with hourly wave data or 8 months when using lithium batteries.
Online systems have a variety of possible communication configurations. The most common are long, offshore cables (max. 5 km) or acoustic modems. Online systems can be delivered with backup batteries, protected cables, shore side interface units, and online software.