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Ultra to develop TLFAS towed sonar for Canadian Surface Combatant

Ultra Electronics Maritime Sonar Systems has been funded to commence work on the low-frequency variable-depth anti-submarine warfare (ASW) sonar system intended to equip the Royal Canadian Navy’s (RCN’s) next-generation surface combatant.

Under contract to Lockheed Martin Canada, the company will transition the development of the Towed Low Frequency Active Sonar (TLFAS) from the programme definition phase into engineering development, manufacture, and delivery.

Lockheed Martin Canada Rotary and Mission Systems – bidding a BAE Systems’ Global Combat Ship design derived from the UK Royal Navy’s (RN’s) Type 26 frigate – was in October 2018 selected as ship design and combat system partner for the RCN’s Canadian Surface Combatant (CSC) programme. A class of 15 CSC ships is to be built by Irving Shipbuilding at its yard in Halifax, Nova Scotia, with deliveries beginning in the early 2030s.

While the CSC programme is capitalising in the quiet hullform and machinery package of the Type 26, the underwater warfare sensor suite is being adapted to suit Canada’s needs.

Ultra Electronics Maritime Sonar Systems, based in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, is leading the Underwater Warfare component for CSC. This will pair the Sonar 2150 medium-frequency hull-mounted sonar – previously developed by Ultra Electronics in the UK for the RN’s Type 23 upgrade and Type 26 programmes – with the TLFAS low-frequency towed sonar system. The latter, designed to provide a wide area ASW search capability, supplants the Thales Sonar 2087 low-frequency active/passive sonar selected for the RN’s Type 26 design.

The CSC integrated underwater warfare system will also incorporate a sonobuoy processor supplied by General Dynamics Canada and a torpedo defence system. The latter will comprise a towed countermeasure (Ultra’s Sea Sentor/Sonar 2170 system) and expendable acoustic countermeasures.

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