PATUXENT RIVER NAS, Maryland – US Navy anti-submarine warfare (ASW) experts are replenishing their reserves of advanced multistatic air-launched spearfishing sonobuoys that work with other sonobuoys to detect, locate and track submarines. -enemy sailors.
Naval Air Systems Command officials at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, announced on Wednesday an $181.9 million order from ERAPSCO in Columbia City, Ind., for 126,000 sonobuoys for airborne ASW operations .
Sonobuoys are expendable air-launched electromechanical ASW acoustic sensors designed to relay underwater sounds from ships and submarines. Sonobuoys allow Navy ASW forces to track potentially hostile submarines operating on the high seas and in coastal areas that could pose a threat to Navy carrier battle groups or other forces. Information from these systems can help enable precision attacks with air-launched torpedoes.
This order is for 100,000 AN/SSQ-53, 16,000 AN/SSQ-101 and 10,000 AN/SSQ-62 production sonobuoys for annual training, peacetime operations and trials.
Fixed-wing aircraft and Navy helicopters can drop a set of sonobuoys, which transmit information to the aircraft over the air link, to determine the exact location of enemy submarines.
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The SSQ-53F has three sensors: a constant shallow depth (CSO) omni, an advanced DIFAR sensor, and a calibrated broadband omni. The buoy digitally conditions and amplifies acoustics and provides directional data that helps establish the azimuth bearing of tracked submarines.
The AN/SSQ-53F Directional Frequency and Range (DIFAR) sonobuoy, which is dropped from a fixed-wing aircraft or helicopter, uses four hydrophones — each a multi-channel directional piezoelectric ceramic transducer — which operate at depths of 90, 200, 400, and 1,000 feet to listen for potentially hostile submerged enemy submarines.
Each AN/SSQ-53F sonobuoy is designed to determine the direction from which it can hear underwater sounds, so one pattern of sonobuoys can determine the range, bearing and location of a underwater contact using triangulation.
The Navy’s Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft will be capable of dropping sonobuoys at relatively high altitudes on large-area models. The aircraft will be able to monitor signals from sonobuoy fields or task the Navy’s MQ-4C Triton long-range maritime surveillance unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to do so.
The AN/SSQ-101 ADAR sonobuoy provides controllable passive search capability and functions as a receiver in a multistatic active receiver system. The device uses a pattern of horizontally oriented pentagon-shaped hydrophones to detect and broadcast underwater sound waves.
Related: Navy Makes Big Purchase of Multistatic Sonobuoys for Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Against Advanced Threats
The AN/SSQ-101B is a NATO size A sonobuoy with a commandable passive search capability. When deployed, the ADAR array uses a horizontally oriented pentagon-shaped pattern of hydrophones to detect and broadcast underwater sound waves. All 40 hydrophones are located along the circumference and radials of the array structure.
The sonobuoy converts its analog output from each hydrophone into a digital signal which is serialized, beamformed and sent to the surface transceiver which transmits over an FSK modulated radio link of at least 5 watts.
This sonobuoy has an electronic selector function (EFS) for use before loading and launching. A UHF control downlink allows the operator to change the operating mode of the sonobuoy after it is deployed in the water with the Selected Sonobuoy Control (CFS) function.
The AN/SSQ-101B from helicopters, fixed-wing aircraft or from the deck of a surface ship. During aerial deployment, the descent of the sonobuoy is stabilized and slowed down by a parachute.
In the long term, Navy officials are concerned that the AN/SSQ-101 sonobuoy will not provide sufficient network gain in some important operational areas. As a result, the Navy is working with industry to develop a new volumetric acoustic receiving array with large horizontal and vertical aperture for use with the ASW family of extended echo range (EER) active search systems.
Related: US Navy Replenishes Supply of AN/SSQ-62 Sonobuoys with Programmable Sonar for Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW)
The AN/SSQ-62E DICASS sonobuoy is used to detect and locate submarines for attack. I can provide range and bearing to the target to fix position, and I can pick up one of four acoustic frequencies selected via electronic function selection.
AN/SSQ-62 sonobuoys work with the Navy’s AN/SSQ series of sonobuoys, which in addition to the AN/SQQ-62 includes the SSQ-36 bathythermograph (BT); SSQ-53 Low Frequency Passive Directional Analysis and Recording (DIFAR); SSQ-101 Active Air Deployed Receiver (ADAR); SSQ-110 non-coherent multistatic source; and SSQ-125 multistatic coherent source.
The AN/SSQ-62E is a fifth-generation all-digital sonobuoy for detecting and locating submarines for attack. It provides range and bearing to the target for accurate position fixing.
Unlike previous versions, any AN/SSQ-62E sonobuoy supports one of four acoustic frequencies selected via electronic function selection.
The AN/SSQ-62E also incorporates command function selection, which allows the operator to change the operating mode of the sonobuoy even after deployment. The AN/SSQ-62E uses a standard lithium sulfur dioxide battery.
Related: Navy to boost supply of anti-submarine warfare sonobuoys under $195.2 million deal with ERAPSCO
The AN/SSQ-62E DICASS can be launched from fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters. The descent of the sonobuoy from the air is stabilized and slowed down by a parachute. It is also deployable from the deck of a surface ship.
The AN/SSQ-62E offers an all-digital design; is controllable at different depths, operational durations and scuttling; features a 96 channel high power RF transmitter; can be controlled on different RF channels, additional depths and sound frequency; is compatible with known airborne acoustic processors; and is factory configurable to AN/SSQ-62D or 62B standards.
The AN/SSQ-62E weighs 35 pounds; has an RF transmitter operating frequency of one watt minimum; is 96 selectable channels on frequencies between 136 and 173.5 MHz; runs for at least an hour; operates at depths of 90, 400 or 1500 feet; has a piezoelectric ceramic omnidirectional transmit and receive sonar transducer; and has a five-year shelf life in a sealed container.
ERAPSCO operates as a joint venture between Sparton Corp. in Le Leon Springs, Florida, and the Ultra Group Maritime segment in Columbia City, Ind.
The company will perform work on this order in De Leon Spring, Florida and Columbia City, Indiana and is expected to be complete by September 2025. For more information, contact ERAPSCO online at www.erapsco .com, Sparton Defense & Security at www.sparton.com, Ultra Maritime at www.ultra.group/us/our-business-units/maritime, or Naval Air Systems Command at Paste the link here.
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