India will get six low frequency Active Towed Array Sonar (ACTAS) systems, that will be fitted on the Kamorta-class corvettes, later this year from Germany.
The system, which can detect enemy submarines, will give a fillip to India’s anti-submarine warfare capabilities.
India had late last year signed a contract for the towed array sonar with German firm Atlas Elektronik.
Under the deal, the first six systems would come from Germany and the rest will be manufactured in India under cooperation with Bharat Electronics Limited.
“This system, which will arrive in the next few months, is a huge capability enhancement of our anti-submarine warfare. ACTAS is the backbone of anti-submarine warfare,” defence sources said.
The towed array sonar provided by ATLAS permits observation of the sea space at ranges considerably above 60 kilometres, depending on the propagation conditions of the water.
This gives the sonar an operational range that by far exceeds that of radars and the weapons range of submarines.
The system is, therefore, not only ideal for hunting submarines but also for the wide-area reconnaissance of surface combatants.
“Indian ships currently use bow mounted sonar or hull mounted sonar which is less effective. ACTAS is the future,” the sources said.
They added that the system is first being put on Kamorta-class anti-submarine corvettes. The project is destined to be rolled out to various classes of ships including Delhi, Talwar, Shivalik and Kolkata.
The sources said ATAS is especially vital in the Arabian Sea.
Warships detect submarines with sonar – a “ping” of sound emitted into the water that reflects from submarines, just as radar bounces back from aircraft.
In Arabian Sea’s warm and shallow waters, the returning signal often gets lost, the sources said, adding that since ATAS is towed by a cable deep below the surface where submarines operate, detection is much higher.
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