$144M to Help MH-60Rs Detect Enemy Periscopes
Nuclear submarines are extremely expensive, but they offer a very important advantage over conventional diesel. They can remain submerged until their shipboard provisions run out, while operating at full capacity. This is very different from diesel-electric submarines, which must come up periodically for air or “snorkel” near the surface to fuel their engines. Even modern air-independent propulsion systems can’t entirely remove this disadvantage, just lengthen undersea operations to a maximum of 2-3 weeks at significantly reduced speeds.
The problem is that surface and near-surface operations are an especially vulnerable time – many of history’s submarine kills have involved boats in this condition. A surfaced, snorkeling or periscoping submarine can be found by observation, but radar is a much better option. If, of course, one can tell the difference between the massive radar clutter generated by waves et. al., and the particular signatures of submarines that have a small air tube or periscope riding just above or very close to the surface. A fact that explains the latest contract related to the US Navy’s new MH-60R anti-submarine helicopter.
Lockheed Martin Systems Integration – Owego in Owego, NY received a $144 million modification, finalizing a previously awarded cost-plus-fixed-fee modification (N00019-08-C-0005) to a cost-plus-incentive-fee contract. This modification provides for the system design and development of the MH-60R Advanced Radar Periscope Detection and Discrimination System, to include design, development, integration and test. Work will be performed in Owego, NY (51%) and Farmingdale, NY (49%), and is expected to be complete in September 2013. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, MD manages this contract. See also subsequent NAVAIR release.