The SACLANT ASW Research Centre was established in 1959 to provide scientific and technical advice to the Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic (SACLANT) in the field of antisubmarine warfare and to respond to the needs of NATO nations and maritime commands. Hence it was a NATO-sponsored research center placed in the Italian Navy compound in La Spezia, Italy, and it was internationally staffed (total about 230) with 50 rotational scientists coming from NATO nations on both sides of the Atlantic. This review covers 3 decades of achievements in ocean acoustics research from the foundation in 1959 to the end of the Cold War in 1989. Both basic and area-related experimental studies of propagation in deep and shallow waters, ambient noise, signal coherence and reverberation were conducted over the years. From the early 1970s the Centre also initiated the development of a set of high-fidelity acoustic models, which subsequently were made available to researchers within the NATO community. Finally the Centre served as a focus for international cooperation by organizing scientific conferences and workshops on a yearly basis and by conducting multinational measurement programs in the Mediterranean, the Black Sea, and the Eastern North Atlantic from Gibraltar up to the Barents Sea.

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