Thales UK has signed a new contract with Lockheed to continue to provide an availability-based support package for the acoustic subsystem for the UK Royal Navy Merlin mk1 and mk2 helicopters.

The new contract is for the next five-year phase of the existing 25-year integrated Merlin operational support (IMOS) programme.

Under the new contract, the company will replace the Merlin’s sonics subsystem with a phased introduction of the acoustic subsystem.

The Merlin’s acoustic subsystem consists of the folding light acoustic system for helicopters (FLASH) active dipping sonar, combined with a sonics subsystem for sonobuoy processing.

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FLASH is the Royal Navy’s principal airborne sensor system designed for deep and shallow water anti-submarine warfare (ASW) operations.

The IMOS contract also provides service management, supply support, technical support and equipment performance analysis to ensure the availability of depot stock levels to support the navy’s forward fleet.