RCN awards underwater suite upgrade contracts [CS19D2]

30 May 2019

General Dynamics Mission Systems-Canada (Booth 1601) has been awarded two contracts to deliver and support an Underwater Warfare Suite Upgrade (UWSU) for the Royal Canadian Navy’s (RCN’s) Halifax-class frigates.

The UWSU is designed to provide the Halifax-class ships with an improved antisubmarine warfare (ASW) intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability through the upgrade and/or replacement of the components of the legacy underwater warfare sensor suite. The intention is to restore a tactical advantage over threat submarines, and provide improved survivability against underwater weapons.

Under the first of the two contracts, valued at C$103 million, General Dynamics Mission Systems-Canada has been contracted to supply and install the UWSU package on board six of the RCN’s 12 Halifax-class ships.

The contract includes options for a further six shipsets – providing for the upgrade of all 12 Halifax-class frigates – which would bring the total value of the acquisition programme up to C$170 million.

The second contract covers in-service support and sustainment for the UWSU suites for a period of up to 23 years. This award is potentially worth up to C$83 million if all options are exercised.

The scope of the UWSU programme covers the delivery of an integrated ASW system that replaces the current towed array sensor and sonobuoy processing system, adds additional active intercept sensors, and improves the processing and transmission control system of the existing AN/SQS-510 hull-mounted sonar.

Additional components for the project include a towed low-frequency active sonar capability and a compatible active receive array that will improve detection performance for targets operating in both open ocean and littoral environments.

According to General Dynamics Mission Systems-Canada, the UWSU “will provide the RCN with an integrated, multi-sonar capability that will profoundly change the ship’s operational capabilities”. The company added: “The Halifax-class frigates will be able to detect quieter targets at increased ranges, while improved automation will allow sonar operators to improve their underwater warfare performance work and to focus on other priorities.”

As subcontractor to General Dynamics Mission Systems- Canada for the UWSU programme, Ultra Electronics will supply a new in-line transmitter and receiver array based on indigenous technology originated at the Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) Atlantic Research Laboratory.

With the transmitter and receiver combined in line in a single towed array, the requirement for a second independent tow for the transmitter is eliminated, so allowing the single reelable array to be installed on the Halifax-class ships with only minimal modification.

As part of the hull-mounted sonar upgrade programme, Nautel will supply NS72-36 sonar amplifiers and Mk II broadband transducers to improve the system’s threat detection and tracking capabilities. The NS72-36 features 36 amplifier modules in a single 72in rack to deliver 36 channels in the same footprint as the original amplifier and power supply.

A first UWSU installation is expected to be completed in 2021, with the new system planned to be declared operational in 2022.

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