Canadian Halifax-class frigates to receive ASW upgrades

Illustration. Photo: Royal Canadian Navy

The Royal Canadian Navy has given the go-ahead for the Underwater Warfare Suite Upgrade (UWSU) of its Halifax-class frigates with a contract award to General Dynamics Mission Systems–Canada.

The upgrade will modernize the underwater warfare sensor suite that is currently installed on the frigates, enhancing their anti-submarine warfare capabilities.

General Dynamics has teamed up with Ultra Electronics Maritime Systems and Nautel to complete work on the contract.

UWSU will deliver an integrated system that replaces the current towed array sensor and sonobuoy processing system, adds additional active intercept sensors, and improves the processing and transmission control system of the existing hull-mounted sonar. Additional components for the project will include a towed low-frequency active sonar capability and a compatible active receive array that will improve detection performance for targets operating in both open ocean and littoral environments.

Ultra Electronic will deliver a transmitter solution that was originally conceived at Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) Atlantic Research Laboratory. It enables sound energy to be steered only in the direction of interest, and with the transmitter and receiver combined in-line in a single towed array, the requirement for a second independent tow for the transmitter is eliminated – allowing the single reelable array to be installed on the Halifax-class with minimal modification.

The single-tow, in-line transmitter also significantly increases the ship’s operational envelope because of the transmitter’s ability to operate at full power in shallow waters.

“General Dynamics is pleased to continue its proud tradition of supporting Canada in anti-submarine warfare as we embark on this ambitious upgrade program,” said David Ibbetson, vice president and general manager of General Dynamics Mission Systems–International. “Not only will UWSU benefit the RCN, it will also create and sustain jobs across Ontario and the Maritimes for years to come.”

The navy expects all upgrades to be completed by 2027.

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