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HELRAS dipping sonar completes acceptance tests on Seagull USV

07 February 2019
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The Helicopter Long-Range Active Sonar (HELRAS) has been successfully integrated to the Seagull unmanned surface vessel. Source: Elbit Systems

Israeli systems house Elbit Systems has successfully integrated an L3 Technologies Helicopter Long-Range Active Sonar (HELRAS) active low frequency dipping sonar into its Seagull multimission unmanned surface vehicle (USV).

The company announced on 7 February that the Israeli Navy had performed a sea acceptance test with the HELRAS-configured Seagull USV.

Seagull is a modular 12 m USV developed by Elbit for operation from either a mother ship or shore station. Designed for a mission endurance in excess of 96 hours, it marries a highly autonomous core command and control/situational awareness suite with modular payload packages tailored to specific missions including mine countermeasures (MCM), anti-submarine warfare (ASW), hydrography, electronic warfare, and maritime security.

HELRAS, which is deployed from a moonpool in the USV's hull, is the latest sensor/effector payload to be integrated into the Seagull system. According to Elbit, operating a dipping sonar onboard a USV "significantly increases the operational working time and substantially enhances [ASW] detection capabilities and effectiveness".

Elbit has previously integrated lightweight torpedo launchers on Seagull, performing a test launch in mid-2016. In December 2018 Leonardo announced that it had teamed with Elbit to develop and demonstrate lightweight torpedo and mini-torpedo launch capabilities from the Seagull USV; the solution is based on the same architecture used for airborne torpedo launch systems.

The trial, which was performed out of Israel's Haifa port, demonstrated the capability of Seagull to install and launch lightweight torpedoes, adding to the capabilities of the USV, which is designed to carry out unmanned maritime missions, such as protection of critical sea areas and high-value assets against submarines and sea mine threats, the company said in its statement.

Seagull development and test previously focused on MCM payloads, with Elbit performing successful integrations with the R2Sonic forward-looking sonar, the Klein 5900 towed multibeam side-scan sonar, the ECA H800 remotely operated vehicle, and the ECA K-ster mine disposal vehicle.

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