SEOUL, Oct. 25 (UPI) -- AgustaWestland has contracted Thales to supply Compact Flash Sonics dipping sonars for the Republic of Korea navy's AW159 helicopters to be delivered starting in 2015.
The low-frequency, long-range Compact Flash sonar is the newest member of Thales' Flash range of dipping sonars and part of Thales' airborne anti-submarine warfare systems.
Benoit Plantier, managing director of Thales Underwater Systems, said Thales' Flash Sonics systems are in use with the French navy's NH90 NFH helicopters, the Merlin EH101 used by the United Kingdom, the United States' MH60-R helicopters and the Super Pumas used by the United Arab Emirates.
Thales says the Compact Flash Sonics system is light enough for smaller helicopters but still includes a fully electric reeling-in machine.
The system can detect, classify, track and engage submarines, as well as help with mine clearance operations.
The Compact version also has a sonobuoy processing system with a VHF receiver to pick up sonobuoy data and process it in real time on board the helicopter.
Thales announced at the Bangalore Aero India show in February that AgustaWestland had chosen Thales' Flash Compact range to equip AgustaWestland's Lynx helicopters for export markets.
AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company, announced the deal with South Korea for the AW159 helicopters in January.
The contract for eight helicopters -- including aircrew and training of maintenance staff, initial spares and support services -- was the first export order for the new generation aircraft, Agusta said in a written statement.
Deliveries of South Korea's AW159s will start in 2015 and be completed in 2016.
The AW159 is a derivative and multirole variant of the Super Lynx that is designed for battlefield utility, search and rescue and anti-surface warfare roles. The AW159 is powered by LHTEC CTS800-4N engines and operates off the deck of small ships under a wide range of weather conditions.
AgustaWestland boosted its presence in South Korea in September 2012, signing partnership agreements with Firstec, a supplier of defense and security systems, and Dodaam Systems, which develops training systems for the defense sector.
AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company, said it signed the memorandums of understanding with both firms as the first step in providing dedicated service and training centers for military helicopters in South Korea.
In particular, the agreements provide opportunities for AgustaWestland to deliver through-life support to operators such as the South Korean navy.
Services under the agreement include maintenance and repair, spare parts inventory management for military helicopters and a series of dedicated training solutions to the military services.
Firstec designs and manufactures firing, guidance and actuation systems as well as test and inspection equipment for land, sea and air use. Products include throttle and air data systems, control display units, fuel systems and fire extinguishing systems.
DoDaam Systems, a spin-off from Korea Aerospace Industries, designs and manufactures simulators as well airborne digital video recorders for military aircraft and unmanned surveillance systems.