The US Navy has awarded Lockheed Martin an $8.7m contract to develop a low profile mast sensor system for the US Navy’s Virginia Class submarines.

The low profile mast system is designed to provide improved situational awareness capabilities while decreasing counter detection probability with a system aimed at coastal operations.

The low profile mast electro-optical system integrates a compact periscope mast, an electronic support measures system and an advanced imaging system. It can be temporarily installed on a submarine when required to support operations and removed at the end of the mission. The system will be delivered to the US Navy in 2008.

Lockheed Martin’s facility in Syracuse, New York, will develop the low profile mast sensor system. Industry collaborators will include periscope manufacturer Kollmorgen, ArgonST, which makes electronic warfare components, and Optics 1, which will provide advanced image sensor engineering.

The total contract value with all options exercised could rise to $70m.