The US Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) has awarded a $182-million contract for the manufacture and delivery of 126,000 sonobuoys for submarine-hunting missions.
As part of the deal, a joint venture of Sparton and Ultra Maritime will produce 100,000 AN/SSQ-53, 16,000 AN/SSQ-101, and 10,000 AN/SSQ-62 sonobuoys.
The three types of sonobuoys will be used for testing, training, and supporting combat operations.
They will also be integrated into maritime patrol aircraft such as the P-8A Poseidon and MH-60S SeaHawk helicopter.
Work for the contract will take place in Florida and Indiana, with expected completion in 2025.
Anti-Submarine Warfare Sonobuoys
According to Ultra Maritime, a sonobuoy can effectively detect enemy submarines by listening to the sound of their propellers or by bouncing a sonar “ping” off the surface of underwater vehicles.
It can also detect electric fields and magnetic anomalies and measure air temperature, barometric pressure, and wave height.
Modern and specialized sonobuoys employ multi-static search techniques to detect even the quietest and most advanced enemy submarines.
“The past decade has seen a significant shift in global geopolitics. This has coincided with rapid evolutions in submarine technology: new generation nuclear subs can run quieter and deeper, making them much harder to detect,” Ultra Maritime stated on its website.
The company explained that its mission to develop cutting-edge sonobuoys has become “more important than ever” as customers demand “smarter, better solutions” to protect against evolving maritime threats.