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General Dynamics, Ultra Electronics and Raytheon team on underwater warfare upgrade

When the Director of Naval Requirements presented to Navy Outlook in April, he touched on 56 major projects the navy has on its near- and mid-term horizon. While the Canadian Surface Combatant might be the grand prize, there are a number of smaller programs from satellite communications upgrade to remote weapon stations and unmanned aerial systems that need to be considered as the navy continues to modernize its 12 Halifax-class frigates and builds new classes of ships.

Chief among them is the Underwater Warfare Suite upgrade, a project to improve the performance of the suite currently installed in a minimum of six of the Halifax-class frigates. And one bidder is already in the running.

Last week, General Dynamics Canada announced a teaming agreement with Ultra Electronics Maritime Systems and Raytheon Canada to pursue the UWSU project.

The project as currently outlined by DNR calls for a new passive array, a new sonobuoy processing system, an upgrade to the hull mounted sonar and a new active intercept, as well as a minimum of four towed low frequency active sonars.

According to a press release, Ultra Electronics would provide “an enhanced towed sonar system, including a towed low-frequency active sonar, delivering a leap forward in submarine detection capability.”

Raytheon Canada, known for its airborne and surface-ship ASW sonars, would upgrade the hull-mounted sonar of the patrol frigates.

And General Dynamic would “provide the replacement sonobuoy system and integrate the technology from all three companies, delivering a leading-edge, interoperable anti-submarine warfare system.”

In line with the government’s new Defence Procurement Strategy, the team is emphasizing its value proposition to Canada: “With a combined employee base of more than 2,600 highly skilled engineers, technologists and software design engineers, the General Dynamics-led team will offer a made-in-Canada solution, providing high value jobs for Canadians and strengthening Canada’s intellectual property and leadership in anti-submarine warfare. The capability developed has proven export potential to international allies making it a possible economic stimulus for Canada’s aerospace and defence sector.”

The project is in the options analysis phase, but a request for proposal is anticipated in 2015.

For an interview with Chris Pogue of General Dynamics Canada on system of systems integration, see here.

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