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New RAN ASW capability to include towed arrays for Anzac-class frigates

The Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN’s) eight Anzac-class frigates are, about 16 to 21 years after commissioning, to be equipped with towed array sonar systems, the Australian Department of Defence (DoD) has disclosed.

In a 21 March notification on the AusTender website, the DoD said a Request for Information (RFI) would be released “within the month” in relation to Project Sea 1408: a consolidation of Sea 1408 Phase 3 Project - Torpedo Self Defence and Project Sea 5014 Phase 2 Anzac Towed Array Sonar.

“The project seeks to identify and deliver new generation anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and torpedo self-defence (TSD) capability to the RAN surface fleet,” the notification stated.

“The introduction of the ASW improvements are to help maximise an individual ship’s ability to detect and defeat submarine and torpedo threats and improve platform survivability. Integration of these capabilities elements with the platform’s combat management system will be pursued to provide a networked system for maritime task groups,” the notification added.

The first of four capability elements would deliver what was described as a Depressed Towed Array Sonar to the Anzac class to improve the submarine detection capability of the platform, “as well as to enable development of ASW training, tactics, and doctrine ahead of the introduction of the Hunter class frigate”, the notification said.

The three other capability elements would be delivered to both the Anzac class and to the RAN’s three Hobart-class air warfare destroyers, and would inform future integration of AWD/TSD systems and operations into the wider surface fleet.

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