AgustaWestland has placed an order with Thales for its compact folding light acoustic system (FLASH) active dipping sonar in support of the Lynx light helicopter programme.
Designed for smaller and lighter helicopters, the new FLASH compact features an optimised, lightweight architecture and a fully electric reeling machine to enable high-performance sonar system deployment for conducting anti-submarine warfare missions.
The low-frequency wideband sonar system has also been integrated on unmanned surface vehicles to demonstrate its capabilities.
Developed to meet the weight and size requirements of smaller helicopters, the FLASH Compact sonar when integrated with the sonobuoy processing system acts as a complete and effective sonar suite for light aircraft.
Operated as an integrated tactical system or a stand-alone system, the dipping sonars can be used to detect, classify, locate, track and engage enemy submarines and perform mine clearance operations.
The system can be used with shipborne sonars to determine the exact location of a target before launching a strike.
When linked with an active/passive sonobuoy processing system, the FLASH Sonics configuration system provides anti-submarine warfare capability, as well as helping identify small, slow moving or stationary underwater targets.
The Thales-built family of dipping sonars are currently in service on the French NH90 NFH, the UK Royal Navy's Merlin EH101, Norwegian and Swedish NH90, the US Navy's MH60-R, and the UAE's Cougar helicopter.
Image: A helicopter integrated with Thales-develop FLASH sonar. Photo: courtesy of Thales Group.