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Navy contracts Thales for airborne dipping sonar repairs

By
Stephen Carlson
A MH-60R Seahawk helicopter deploys a AN/AQS-22 dipping sonar off a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier. Photo courtesy Raytheon
A MH-60R Seahawk helicopter deploys a AN/AQS-22 dipping sonar off a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier. Photo courtesy Raytheon

Nov. 23 (UPI) -- Thales Defense and Security was awarded a not-to-exceed $13.99 million delivery order under a previous contract for repair work on AN/AQS-22 Airborne Low Frequency Sonar systems.

Work will be split between locations in Clarksburg, Md., and Brest, France, and is expected to run through November 2020. The Navy will obligate $10.5 million in working capital funds with the award.

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The AN/AQS-22 Airborne Low Frequency Sonar is the primary dipping sonar used by the H-60 series of naval helicopters for anti-submarine operations. It is designed to be fully integrated with the MH-60R Seahawk ASW helicopter and the MK 54 anti-submarine torpedo.

Raytheon says the ALFS is the only multi-frequency dipping sonar in operation today, allowing the sonar to cover a larger area in order to detect, track and engage enemy submarines. The ALFS uses both passive sonar to detect and analyze underwater background and environmental conditions and a active sonar for target detection and acquisition.

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The MH-60R Seahawk is a naval derivative of the UH-60 Blackhawk medium-lift transport helicopter used by the Army and allied nations, operating from flight decks on aircraft carriers, surface combatants and logistics ships. It is designed primarily for anti-submarine and surface warfare operations.

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The MK 54 lightweight torpedo can be deployed from surface ships, helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft like the P-8 Poseidon to engage underwater targets. It uses algorithms to analyze and ignore false targets or countermeasures and help stay locked on its primary target. The MK 54 is a derivative of the older ML 50 and MK 48 ADCAP torpedoes while using the 100-pound warhead from the MK 46.

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