Vanguard Magazine

April/May 2015

Preserving capacity, General Tom Lawson, Chief of the Defence Staff, Keys to Canadian SAR

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A fter more than ten years of research, development, test and evaluation, one of the most sophisticated sonars in the world is now entering service with the Royal Neth- erlands Navy (RNLN). The Multi-static Active Passive Sonar system is part of a major mid-life upgrade program for the Dutch M-class frigates. A highly advanced low frequency active sonar, it represents the latest in underwater sensing technology, acoustic signal process- ing, and anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capability. It is the result of a lengthy and successful collaboration between the RNLN, the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research (TNO), and Canadian industry. The Multi-static Active Passive Sonar is testament to the success that can be achieved when earnest cooperation is exercised between a navy, a defence laboratory and industry. The RNLN, via a small project team within the Dutch Defence Materiel Organization, funded and managed the project from development to deployment, and provided some valuable engineering guidance. TNO, who performs a similar role in The Netherlands to that of Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC), was re- sponsible for most of the software including the signal processing and display suite. Considerable innovation was applied to novel processing algorithms, waveforms optimized for specific acous- tic environments, torpedo detection and defence, techniques for mitigating the effects of sonar transmissions on marine mammals, sonar performance modelling, and the human-machine interface. Ultra Electronics Maritime Systems, based in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, was responsible for developing and delivering all of the hard- ware. This included unique sensor architectures, a powerful wide- band transmitter, a high dynamic range directional receive array, and robust handling equipment to deploy and recover the system. Success through collaboration TNO began exploring low frequency active sonar in the early 90's. At about the same time, Ultra was developing low frequency active sonar technology as part of DRDC's Towed Integrated Ac- tive Passive Sonar (TIAPS) project, along with industry software and systems integration partner General Dynamics Canada. While TIAPS did not deliver new ASW capability directly to the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN), it contributed significantly to Cana- dian industry knowledge and experience in modern sonar. So, when U UnderWATer wARfARe 38 APRIL/MAY 2015 coUld UnderWATer WArfAre reqUiremenTS drive The reTUrn of A formidAble ASW plAyer? Back in the game the Dutch decided to develop a low frequency active sonar for the M-class frigates, Ultra was well positioned as a credible partner. In 2005, the RNLN selected Ultra to design and deliver hard- ware for the pre-production prototype of the Multi-static Active Passive Sonar. TNO was awarded a contract to develop the soft- ware. The pre-production prototype was a portable system that saw extensive trials aboard the Dutch research vessel Mercuur as well as the M-class frigates until the end of 2012. In fact, trials results were so impressive that the system was frequently used in operational deployments. In 2010, Ultra and TNO received contracts for the production version of the Multi-static Active Passive Sonar which features considerable enhancements over its predecessor. The first produc- tion system has been installed in the frigate HNLMS Van Amstel and is now completing sea trials. leveraging the know-how Ultra has accumulated a tremendous amount of experience and knowledge in modern sonar technology, largely due to its par- ticipation in projects outside Canada. In addition to The Neth- erlands, the company's products are exported to the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, and the Republic of Korea. Approximately 75 percent of Ultra's revenues come from abroad, and these exports are critical to sustaining Ultra's highly qualified workforce, more than half of which are engineers, tech- nologists, and technicians. dan Simard is director of business development for Ultra electronics Maritime Systems. Ultra's sonar handling system built by Rolls Royce Naval Marine in Peterborough, Ontario.

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