Lockheed Martin has awarded CAE a contract to supply its Magnetic Anomaly Detection-Extended Role (MAD-XR) for the US Navy’s Sikorsky MH-60R Romeo Seahawk helicopter.
The MAD-XR will add an additional sensor layer on to the MH-60R’s anti-submarine mission, and will complement the aircraft’s AN/AQS-22 Airborne Low Frequency Sonar (ALFS) dipping sonar.
The MAD-XR is a magnetometer that detects anomalies in the earth’s magnetic field when a large metallic object such as a submarine is nearby. Weighing just 1.5kg – a fraction of the 27kg of its predecessor AIMS AN/ASQ 508A MAD – the miniaturised sensor can be integrated with helicopters, small UAS, and small fixed-wing aircraft.
“Over the past several years we have conducted several trials with the U.S. Navy to confirm the capabilities of the MAD-XR system on the MH-60R helicopter,” Lockheed Martin’s director Naval Helicopter Programs, Thomas M Kane said in a statement. “Adding this to the MH-60R’s sensor suite will further advance the capabilities of the world’s most advanced anti-submarine warfare helicopter.”
CAE’s Group President Defence & Security, Daniel Gelston added, “The integration of our MAD-XR system on the US Navy’s MH-60R helicopter is testament to its powerful magnetic detection abilities. The MAD-XR system can provide defence forces with enhanced capabilities for operational missions such as submarine detection and search and rescue.”
Phase 1 of the contract will see the MAD-XR integrated with six MH-60Rs and, if successful, the sensor will be rolled out across the US Navy’s fleet. Due to Australia planning to stay in “lockstep” with the US Navy on Romeo upgrades and enhancements, the MAD-XR capability may also find its way onto the RAN’s 24 MH-60Rs as well.