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Modern digital sonar typically employs large arrays of hydrophones in order to achieve sufficient array gain and good spatial resolution, resulting in vast volumes of original data. It is crucial to find a low-cost high-speed data transmission solution for such a sonar system. This paper addresses the design and implementation of an optimized data transmission architecture for a multi-channel sonar platform. Our system is developed on the basis of currently available FPGAs with embedded microprocessors. Both the hardware and software have been realized and the data throughput is measured, which shows that the proposed design has a high ratio of performance to cost. Over the past years, we have succeeded to adopt this transmission system in a multi-beam echo sounder and an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) synthetic aperture sonar.