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Australia requests towed array tech to detect submarines

The US State Department has approved a possible US$207 million foreign military sale of towed sensor array equipment for the Australian government.

The US State Department has approved a possible US$207 million foreign military sale of towed sensor array equipment for the Australian government.

Under the sale, Australia would receive Surveillance Towed Array Sensor System Expeditionary (SURTASS-E) mission systems for vessels of opportunity, related equipment, a shore processing mission system, spare SURTASS passive acoustic array, classified and unclassified software, publications and support.

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified the US Congress of the possible sale on 4 May.


Towed acoustic arrays have traditionally been used by maritime vessels, such as submarines or surface ships, to collect acoustic data for the detection of submarines.

“Australia is one of our most important allies in the western Pacific. The strategic location of this political and economic power contributes significantly to ensuring peace and economic stability in the region,” the Defense Security Cooperation Agency statement said.

“It is vital to the US national interest to assist our ally in developing and maintaining a strong and ready self-defence capability.

“The proposed sale will improve Australia’s capability to meet current and future maritime threats by providing tactical platforms with the detection and cueing of enemy submarines.

“The ability to provide acoustic wide area surveillance and generate indications and warnings to Australian Commands will significantly improve shared maritime security.”

Lockheed Martin Syracuse and Lockheed Martin Manassas have been selected as the principal contractors. US government and US contractor representatives will visit Australia on a temporary basis to provide program technical oversight and support requirements.

Lockheed Martin recently announced a $7.2 billion production contract with the US Army for Javelin anti-tank portable weapon systems between 2023 to 2026.

The production contract provides procurement of Javelin systems, support for the US Army and international customers, as well as production ramp support increase to 3,960 per year by late 2026.

Lockheed Martin Javelin program director and Javelin Joint Venture (JJV) vice-president Dave Pantano said the contract supports Javelin’s increased global demand across 20 international customers including new international customer, North Macedonia.

“We understand the importance of delivering Javelin and its proven capabilities to our customers worldwide, so they’re prepared for the missions they face today and tomorrow,” he said.

“This contract allows us to continue to evolve with our customers’ needs, while ramping up Javelin production to support the increased international interest for this multi-purpose weapon system.”

The Javelin weapon system is developed and produced by the JJV between Raytheon Technologies and Lockheed Martin. Javelin is expected to remain in the US weapon arsenal until 2050.

Raytheon’s Javelin program director and JJV president Andy Amaro said the JJV has produced more than 50,000 Javelin missiles and more than 12,000 reusable command launch units.

“Javelin’s continued reliability and effectiveness has only bolstered demand for this battle-proven, fire-and-forget precision anti-armour weapon,” he said.

“Together with our US Army customer and supplier partners, we share a singular focus — the timely delivery of this exceptional weapon system to ground forces worldwide.”

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