Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Atlas Elektronik, which belongs to thyssenkrupp Marine Systems, develops and manufactures Sonar systemsfor submarines, minehunting boats and combat ships as well as torpedoes and autonomous systems, was commissioned by Lockheed Martin Australia (LMA) to design the bow sonar base for the future attack class submarines. Lockheed Martin Australia is the general contractor commissioned by the Australian government in 2018 for the development, construction and integration of the Combat Management Systems (CMS).

Australian media reports that Lockheed Martin Australia's Atlas Electronics bow sonar base was selected through a competitive selection process. Atlas Elektronik will work with its Sydney-based Australian subsidiary Sonartech Atlas as a subcontractor for the design phase. "We are very excited to be contributing to what is currently Australia's largest defense program," said Michael Ozegowski, Atlas CEO. “This capability solution was chosen because it best met the commercial and acoustic technology requirements of the Australian program. For Australia and the Royal Australian Navy, we are now developing one of the world's most modern solutions for an acoustic 'submarine bow array. "

Australien: Atlas Elektronik erhält Auftrag zur Entwicklung einer Komponente für die U-Boote der Attack-Klasse
A graphic representation of the new submarines, graphic: Royal Australian Navy

The design of the bow sonar base for the Australian submarines is being developed in Bremen. According to the company, it is based on an existing solution that emerges over time as a reaction to customer specifications and the latest technological developments. Atlas Elektronik intends to present its new development ECAS (Expanded Conformal Array Sonar) to a wider audience at a trade fair for submarine technology, UDT (Undersea Defense Technology), June 29th - July 1st in Rostock. It stands to reason that the solution for Australia will be based on this.

Australia and France signed a strategic partnership in Canberra on February 11, 2019, which will focus on the future Australian Future Submarine Program (FSP). With the conclusion of the contract for the construction of twelve Attack-class submarines, a long and tough struggle to replace the six Collins-class submarines of the Royal Australian Navy came to an end. Naval Group was able to assert itself against Japanese, Swedish, Spanish and German competition in the now approx. 57.5 billion euros (AU $ 90 billion) businessESUT reported). The future attack class submarines will be based on the Naval Group's 'Barracuda' design - in contrast to the Suffren class with a conventional propulsion system, which was realized in France.

Lockheed Martin Australia was selected as Combat System Integrator (CSI) for the Future Submarine Program at the end of 2016. The decision was made to use the US-made submarine command and control system AN / BYG-1, which is used on submarines of the Los Angeles, Seawolf and Virginia classes of the US Navy and also on the Collins-class submarines is installed.

Australien: Atlas Elektronik erhält Auftrag zur Entwicklung einer Komponente für die U-Boote der Attack-Klasse
Australien: Atlas Elektronik erhält Auftrag zur Entwicklung einer Komponente für die U-Boote der Attack-Klasse

Australia's Future Submarine Program is the largest defense investment program in Australian history. The program is not without controversy in Australia. In January 2020, due to a delay in the design phase of nine months that became known at the time, a discussion sparked in which the entire project was called into question, how ESUT reported. Just recently, the Australian Defense Minister made public her frustration with the course of the program. In addition to missing important milestones, the development of costs is also decisive for the critics - when the contract was signed, the sum amounted to AU $ 50 billion. Construction is now scheduled to begin in 2022-23. According to the current status, the first submarine, the HMAS "Attack", is to arrive in 2034. Which means the decommissioning of the Collins submarines could not begin until 2036.

For Australia, the project is not only important from a security point of view. Canberra is watching the armament in China with growing concern. In addition, the Australian government promised itself that the program would preserve highly qualified jobs and transfer know-how in a heavily shaken shipyard landscape - around 2,500 - 3,000 jobs were specified when the contract was signed.

Hans Uwe Mergener