L-3 Nautronix and L-3 ELAC Nautik announced today the use of their maritime systems equipment to provide unprecedented two-way, reliable communications to the deepest point of the ocean, a part of the Mariana Trench called Challenger Deep. The L-3 systems were used in support of a record-breaking dive conducted by James Cameron in his one-man Deepsea Challenger submarine on 26 March, 2012.

The dive was the centrepiece of the Deepsea Challenge expedition, a joint scientific project by James Cameron, the National Geographic Society and Rolex to conduct deep-ocean research and exploration. Mr. Cameron touched bottom at a depth of 10,898m and stayed there for several hours in order to explore, film and collect scientific samples. The information collected during the expedition will be included in a National Geographic magazine story as well as a 3-D feature documentary film to be released this winter.

"We are extremely proud to have been part of James Cameron’s historic expedition and to have assured reliable communications to the bottom of the ocean," said Paul Roberts, L-3 Nautronix project manager and expedition team member. "This project proves that the possibilities for voice and digital data transfer now have few limitations. The L-3 solution guaranteed the continuous flow of information, allowing Mr Cameron to immediately transmit the news of his landing on the Trench to the expedition’s surface vessels, as well as his wife, and to simultaneously receive their congratulations."

The Mariana Trench is the most remote and isolated place on the planet. To meet the extraordinary demands of the expedition, L-3 was tasked with providing a technical solution that would enable Mr Cameron and his submarine’s systems to remain in contact through voice and digital communications to the surface at all times. L-3’s underwater communications solution included the MASQ signaling system from L-3 Nautronix complemented by the UT 3000 underwater telephone system from L-3 ELAC Nautik.

L-3 Nautronix’ MASQ signalling system was developed to provide next-generation, reliable Through Water Communications (TWC) as an underwater SMS-style messaging system operating at speed and depth. L-3 ELAC Nautik’s UT 3000 is a premier underwater communications system that combines analogue and digital communication in a single unit. In addition to a telephony and telegraphy mode, the UT 3000 provides unique features, such as own noise measurement, horizontal distance measurement and transmission of SOS signals.

Aside from underwater communications, the state-of-the-art L-3 systems supported the monitoring of critical data, including Mr Cameron’s vital signs, the submarine’s oxygen and battery levels, depth, speed, and range from the support vessels.