L-3 Communications has announced that a subsidiary of its Ocean Systems division, ELAC Nautik located in Kiel, Germany, has received a contract to provide the Helicopter Long Range Active Sonar (HELRAS) system for the European four nation NH-90 Helicopter Program.
The initial order is for 20 systems and is valued at over $32 million. The order will support deliveries of NH-90 aircraft to the Italian and Dutch Navies over the next several years.
According to L-3, options for the remaining 40 systems of the Lot 1 production contract will follow, bringing the total contract value to over $65 million, with additional contracts anticipated for Lot 2.
ELAC will provide the first five complete HELRAS systems and up to 55 HELRAS transmit/receive subsystems for the Lot 1 order. In addition, ELAC will assist in the technology transfer for major avionic and mechanical subsystems of HELRAS with European partners Galileo Avionica and Netherlands’ Fokker Elmo.
L-3’s HELRAS is said to be the highest performance helicopter dipping sonar in the world, featuring long range, deep and shallow water surveillance capability.
The HELRAS system has been successfully demonstrated against submarines ranging from 400 tons to over 2,000 tons in both deep and littoral ocean environments by a number of international navies, and provides up to ten times the detection range of its closest rival.
In addition to this award, Italy has also chosen HELRAS for the Agusta EH-101 helicopter and by Turkey and Greece for the Sikorsky S-70B helicopter. Additional orders are expected in 2003.