Leonardo validated the new enhanced capabilities of its ULISSES anti-submarine acoustic system during a recent trial off the Italian coast. During the demo it was shown how L18Harris Technologies' Firefly dive sonar, AQS-3, working together with the ULISSES processor, automatically identified simulated enemy submarines and alerted crews of their presence.
The demonstration follows the full integration of the Firefly dive sonar with the ULISSES system. The Firefly incorporates a high-powered active sonar capable of diving up to 200 meters below sea level and detecting targets up to 20 miles, transmitting audio and video over a broadband data link.
For the demonstration ULISSES with the Firefly was installed on a naval unit, while an NH90 helicopter of the Italian Navy released the sonoboe during the test.
Key elements of the ULISSES / Firefly system design are its compact shape and low weight, which allow it to be integrated even on small and light helicopters used for coastal operations. The capabilities demonstrated represent an effective response to the growing need of the Armed Forces to conduct ASW (Anti-Submarine Warfare) operations in shallow water.
Observers aboard the command ship were able to see on the screen of an operator such as ULISSES, combining inputs from the Firefly immersion sonar with data from active and passive sonoboe, located potential contacts and alerted crews. The ULISSES and Firefly systems offer 'multistatic' capabilities where processors collect and dispense data for up to 64 dive sonars and distributed sonoboe, using multiple sources of information to accurately triangulate the position of enemy submarines.
ULISSES was unveiled in 2018 at the Farnborough Air Show and was successfully tested in a live sea trial in November 2019. The system is now fully developed and contacts with a number of potential launch customers are ongoing.
ULISSES, the successor to Leonardo's OTS-90 acoustic system for the Italian and Dutch NH90 helicopters, provides advanced capabilities in an even lighter package, ideal for integration into small helicopters. It was designed to replace the OTS-90, making it an attractive proposition for the retrofit market. The system is also available for fixed-wing aircraft, naval units and, without immersion sonar, for drones.