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FIA18: Leonardo’s Partnerships For ASW

A Complete Acoustic System Able to Deliver Multistatic Capability

At Farnborough on 18 July Leonardo confirmed partnerships with L3 Technologies and Ultra Electronics Command & Sonar Systems in order to offer a complete anti-submarine warfare (ASW) acoustic system based on Leonardo’s new lightweight Ultra-LIght SonicS Enhanced System (ULISSES) processor. Leonardo will offer an integrated system comprising ULISSES and either a dipping sonar provided by L3 or sonobuoys provided by Ultra, or a combination of both. The integrated system will be trialled for the first time later this year with the complete system available for deliveries in 2020.

Leonardo has a track record in ASW technology, having provided the OTS-90 acoustic system for Italian and Dutch NH90 naval helicopters. This experience has been used to develop the new ULISSES processor, packing enhanced functionality into a much smaller 6.5kg unit. Combined with market-leading sonobuoys from Ultra and advanced HELRAS and FIREFLY dipping sonars from L3, Leonardo is now able to offer a highly competitive integrated acoustic system to a range of international users. A reduction in system weight compared with legacy systems means that ULISSES can be fitted on-board even very small unmanned platforms such as Leonardo’s SD-150 HERO rotary-wing aircraft. 

Notably, the new system is able to deliver multistatic functionality, where the processor collects data from multiple sonobuoys and combines the information to develop an in-depth picture of the under-sea environment, including detailed location data of any potentially threatening vessels. Multistatic functionality, invented and developed by Ultra, is embedded in the ULISSES sonobuoy processor. Currently, Ultra is the only company to provide miniaturised sonobuoys fitted for multistatic operation, which are suitable for small UAV application,s and Leonardo will be the first company to offer a system which makes use of them. The ULISSES system can also use the very-low-frequency L3 HELRAS dipping sonar as an active source, improving its multistatic performance and delivering the best possible information to operators.

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