MH-60 helicopter

The Royal Australian Navy’s NUSQN 725 has conducted functional testing of the airborne low-frequency sonar system (ALFS), fitted to the MH-60R Romeo helicopter, off the Jacksonville coast, Florida, US.

The deployment of ALFS follows five months of flying operations from the Naval Air Station (NAS) in Jacksonville, including the process of installation, calibration and flight tests.

NUSQN 725 executive officer lieutenant commander Todd Glynn said: "This system, in concert with others, will give the Romeo a tactical anti-submarine advantage and I look forward to seeing it doing the business for the fleet."

The ALFS system comprises several moving parts and processing equipment, including a transducer, which is lowered into the water.

The system’s cabin features a reeling machine containing the long cable, with its elevating and lowering functions carried out by the sensor operator.

"This system, in concert with others, will give the Romeo a tactical anti-submarine advantage."

NUSQN 725 commanding officer commander David Frost said that the delivery of the first ALFS has capped off an incredible array of weapons and sensors in the MH-60R, the likes of which the fleet air arm, and the wider navy, have not seen before.

"This aircraft packs an incredible punch and we can’t wait to bring it back home and pass on our new found knowledge," Frost said.

Built by Sikorsky and Lockheed Martin, MH-60R helicopters feature complete packages of sensors and systems, which provide enhanced capability for anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare missions.

In addition, the MH-60R can execute secondary missions including search and rescue, vertical replenishment, naval surface-fire support, logistics support, personnel transport and medical evacuation, among others.

Image: The MH-60R Romeo helicopter during the functional testing of the newly fitted ALFS off the coast of Jacksonville. Photo: courtesy of the Royal Australian Navy.

Defence Technology