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Australian Anzac frigates complete sonar system upgrade

Anzac-class frigates
HMA ships Anzac, right, and Arunta have both undergone the broadband sonar advanced processing system upgrade

Upgrades to the Spherion B sonar processing systems in the Royal Australian Navy’s Anzac-class frigates under SEA 1408 Phase 2 are almost complete, the navy has announced.

The SEA 1408 Phase 2 replaced the existing sonar processing system with the sovereign designed Broadband Sonar Advanced Processing System (BSAPS) while still utilising the existing Spherion B Hull Mounted Sonar Wet End.

The BSAPS was jointly developed in a collaboration between Defence Science and Technology (DST), Saab Australia, BAE Systems and Thales Australia.

Deputy Director Combat Systems Commander Danielle Radnidge said the BSAPS project began life as a submission from DST through the Defence Industry Realisation Fund, a precursor to the Defence Innovation Hub.

“The submission was picked up and commercialised by Thales Australia, and showcases Australia’s world class ability to convert science and technology concepts into successful commercial enterprises,” Commander Radnidge said.

“This is without doubt, an Australian success story,” she said.

The BSAPS replaces the ‘ship build’ fitted sonar processing system which was supplied to Anzac-class frigates as part of the original build program in the 1990s.

Responding to the emerging threat situation, a requirement was identified for a system that was more suited to modern submarine and torpedo threats expected to emerge over the lifespan of the Anzac-class frigate – to date, six of the eight Anzac-class frigates have been upgraded.

According to the navy, the many advantages offered by the SEA 1408 Phase 2 include a significant improvement in sonar passive capability, a greater level of sonar and combat management system integration, improved levels of sonar functionality and significant improvements in equipment reliability.

The new sonar system has been integrated with the 9LV combat management system and had been successfully demonstrated at sea over a number of years.