Ultra was awarded a contract to commence work on the key Variable Depth Sonar (VDS) system for the Canadian Surface Combatant (CSC) program – named the Towed Low-Frequency Active Sonar (TLFAS), the company announced with a press release. This subcontract moves the development of CSC’s anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capability from the program definition phase into the full manufacture and delivery of the vessels’ suite of sonars.
The TLFAS is a towed sonar solution, optimized for the detection and tracking of stealthy submarines in challenging ocean environments. When delivered it will represent a step-change in Canada’s anti-submarine warfare assets and will provide a level of sonar capability never before enjoyed by the Royal Canadian Navy.
The TLFAS system is fully designed and manufactured by Ultra in Nova Scotia, Canada. Its design also includes components built by other Canadian companies, such that the industrial benefit of this system selection is spread across multiple Provinces. The selection of this system for CSC, therefore, means that Canadian industrial content is maximized in the delivery of the initial systems, and that the skillsets and facilities required to maintain the system through its operational life are also resident in Canada.
In the two years since having been originally awarded program definition studies for CSC, working in close partnership with Lockheed Martin Canada and Irving Shipbuilding Inc., Ultra’s Canadian team has grown by over 150 employees, with another 80 high-tech roles expected to be made available in 2021 alone.
The program is also triggering major Canadian investment decisions by Ultra in terms of facilities, inward technology transfer, and research partnerships which will be announced through the course of 2021. Overall, Ultra’s role on CSC is a very good example of the Industrial and Technological Benefits that the program is providing to Canada, and of the enduring impact that the program will have on sovereign naval capability for the nation.
Bernard Mills, President of Ultra Maritime Sonar Systems commented: “Ultra recognizes our responsibility to provide, through CSC, the highest possible level of ASW capability to the Royal Canadian Navy. We are therefore immensely proud of this contract award, especially because it is grounded in Canadian innovation and ingenuity, and because it will be an enduring driver of both operational capability and national industrial benefit. Most importantly, this is not just a success for Ultra but is one for the entire CSC enterprise, and I want to thank our strong partners in Lockheed Martin Canada, Irving Shipbuilding Inc., and all our peers on the CSC team who are as dedicated as we are to the delivery of a world-class naval capability to Canada, built by Canadians”.
Naval News Comment: Variable Depth Sonars are one of the most important sensors in Anti-Submarine Warfare. As known commonly, submarines generally submerge under layer-depth, a depth level that sound waves hardly reach beyond. VDSs provide ASW assets to break layer-depth and search under the layer. Besides, The towed array sonars are effective in the detection and tracking of faint sounds such as the low noise-emitting submarine threats or seismic signals. On the other hand, towing VDS limits the maneuvers of the ship. However, maneuver restriction can be ignored due to its benefits. There is no doubt that TLFAS will boost Royal Canadian Navy’s ASW capabilities.