The US Navy has awarded a contract to Raytheon for the delivery of its new variable depth sonar (VDS) system, which is an anti-submarine solution designed for the littoral combat ship (LCS) class.

The $27.9m deal has been awarded following a study and product assessment phase that saw the company demonstrate that the features and capabilities of the VDS are able to address all of the navy's design and performance requirements.

Raytheon will advance its design to a full Pre-Production Test Article under the new agreement. Completion of the deal is currently expected for late next year.

The new arrangement also includes various production options, which if exercised will bring the total contract value to more than $300m.

The VDS solution will be deployed from the US Navy’s LCS to aid in locating and tracking hostile submarines.

Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems Seapower Capability Systems Business Area vice-president Paul Ferraro said: “We leveraged decades of sonar systems expertise and our proven ability to innovate to create this ground-breaking technology.

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"Raytheon's reliable, cost-effective variable depth sonar will allow the navy to rapidly introduce this new anti-submarine capability to meet the LCS mission."

“Raytheon's reliable, cost-effective variable depth sonar will allow the navy to rapidly introduce this new anti-submarine capability to meet the LCS mission.”

The sonar system used will be identical for both LCS variants and features reduced weight to minimise ship impact.

It has been specifically designed to increase manoeuvrability and offer the opportunity for enhanced warfighting payloads, along with providing easy operational capability that enhances crew efficiency and overall operational effectiveness.

The features were validated by the fleet sailors, who operated the sonar system at a full-scale demonstration at Florida Atlantic University's Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute in August last year.

Image: Raytheon’s Littoral Combat Ship Variable Depth Sonar deployed and recovered at sea during developmental testing. Photo: courtesy of Raytheon.