Lockheed Martin Corp. was awarded a $182 million contract for Airborne Low Frequency Sonars related to Indian and Danish Sikorsky MH-60R anti-submarine warfare helicopters. The contract modification, announced Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Defense, is worth more than $182 million and covers production, delivery and integration of 24 ALFSs for the government of India; eight ALFSs for the Navy and seven ALFS for the government of Denmark, into MH-60R Seahawk helicopters. The ALFS and Sonobuoys will provide the Sea Hawk capability to perform anti-submarine warfare missions. Work is expected to be completed by Lockheed Martin in September 2024.
The AN/AQS-22 Airborne Low Frequency Sonars (ALFS) is the primary undersea warfare sensor of the MH-60R multi-mission helicopter. This integrated dipping sonar system enables the MH-60R to accomplish the assigned ASW missions of submarine detection, tracking, localization and classification. It also performs missions relating to acoustic intercept, underwater communications and environmental data acquisition. The AQS-22 dipping sonar features 4-time greater area coverage than current systems, active or passive sonar modes, active or passive sonobuoys, enhanced shallow water capability, generate high power waveforms and many other advanced characteristics.
In November 2012, Denmark selected 9 MH-60Rs to replace its 7 aging Lynx helicopters. In October 2015, the US Navy accepted two mission ready MH-60R helicopters for Denmark. In October 2018, Lockheed Martin was in the process of delivering the ninth and final MH-60R to Denmark. In August 2018, India’s Defence Ministry approved the purchase of 24 MH-60R helicopters to replace their fleet of Westland Sea Kings. In April 2019, US approved sale of 24 anti-submarine hunter helicopters to India including spare parts for US$2.6 bn. The 24 MH-60R multi-mission helicopters will provide the Indian defence forces with the capability to perform anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare missions.
The MH-60R was originally known as “LAMPS Mark III Block II Upgrade” when development began in 1993 with Lockheed Martin (formerly IBM/Loral). Two SH-60Bs were converted by Sikorsky, the first of which made its maiden flight on 22 December 1999. Designated YSH-60R, they were delivered to NAS Patuxent River in 2001 for flight testing. The production variant was redesignated MH-60R to match its multi-mission capability. The MH-60R was formally deployed by the US Navy in 2006. The MH-60R is designed to combine the features of the SH-60B and SH-60F. Offensive capabilities are improved by the addition of new Mk-54 air-launched torpedoes and Hellfire missiles.