ERAPSCO/Sonobuoy, a joint venture between electronics manufacturing firm Sparton and Ultra Electronics (ULE) subsidiary USSI, has awarded subcontracts worth $13.3m to its parent companies.
Under the $5.6m and $5.2m deals awarded to Sparton Electronics Florida and USSI respectively, the companies will manufacture and supply passive and active sonobuoys to ERAPSCO.
The subcontracts will support the multiple international agreements that the joint venture has for proposed exercises with the US Navy, as well as independent training and exercises, which have been approved under export regulations.
Designed to support the US Navy’s anti-submarine forces, the sonobuoys can detect acoustic emissions or reflections from potentially hostile submarines and transmit these signals to US Navy airborne anti-submarine warfare forces.
As part of the deal, the sonobuoys will be manufactured at Sparton’s De Leon Springs facility in Florida and USSI’s Columbia City base in Indiana.
With production expected to be completed by June 2014, the passive and active sonobuoys will be used for detection, classification, and localisation of opponent submarines during peacetime and combat operations.
They can also be used to evaluate environmental conditions in order to help deploy best search tactics, and for communication with friendly submarines.
In addition, they can send an acoustical signal source and receive underwater signals of interest that are sent to monitoring units for analysis.
Passive sonobuoys are used in the initial detection of submarines and the localisation of targets, while the active ones can identify targets quickly and accurately in extreme environmental conditions against a very quiet submarine, or one in an attack mode.
Certain specialised sonobuoys are capable of identifying electric fields and magnetic anomalies, as well as the light emitted by microscopic organisms disturbed by the passage of a submarine.
Image: A sonobuoy loaded on to an aircraft. Photo: courtesy of US Navy, by photographer’s mate 1st class John Collins.