Through two separate partnerships—one with L3 Technologies and one with Ultra Electronics—Leonardo has developed a suite of anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capabilities that can take advantage of the company’s compact and lightweight Ulisses (ultra-light sonics enhanced system) processor that has been unveiled this week at the Farnborough Airshow.
Ulisses weighs just 6.5 kg (14.3 pounds) yet offers increased functionality over the OTS-90 system that Leonardo (Outdoor Exhibit L1) previously developed for the NFH90 ASW helicopter. Crucially, Ulisses can process data from both sonobuoys and dipping sonar, combining the signals from many sources to create an enhanced underwater “picture”. The system can handle data from up to 64 sonobuoys, or 52 buoys and a dipping sonar.
In terms of dipping sonar, Leonardo is offering L3’s low-frequency HELRAS and mid-frequency Firefly as part of an integrated ASW suite, while Ulisses is compatible with Ultra’s new range of mini-sonobuoys that are being developed with UK MoD funding for multistatic operations. The SSQ 92X is a passive buoy weighing in at 3.5 kg (7.7 pounds), while the SSQ 95X active buoy weighs 7.8 kg (17.2 pounds).
Ultra has developed a self-contained pod that can be carried by helicopters—both manned and unmanned—to provide an ASW capability to multirole platforms. The modular pod can be expanded to carry 12 to 48 mini-sonobuoys, and features the Ulisses processor.
Trials of the ASW system are scheduled to begin later this year, with an aim of having the Ulisses processor fully developed by 2019. The buoys and pod are expected to be ready in 2020. Leonardo has received significant interest in Ulisses already and is involved in a number of campaigns to answer fixed-wing ASW requirements.