Navy chooses L-3 to upgrade TB-23/BQ towed sonar array

WASHINGTON, 10 June 2005. U.S. Navy sonar experts are asking engineers at the L-3 Communications Ocean Systems Division in Sylmar, Calif., to upgrade and repair the submarine-based TB-23/BQ thinline towed array sonar system.

WASHINGTON, 10 June 2005. U.S. Navy sonar experts are asking engineers at the L-3 Communications Ocean Systems Division in Sylmar, Calif., to upgrade and repair the submarine-based TB-23/BQ thinline towed array sonar system.

L-3 is working under terms of a $49.2 million sole-source contract awarded June 9 from the U.S. Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington (contract number N00024-05-C-6237). Work is to be finished by 2010.

The TB-23 towed-array sonar essentially is a long wire with hydrophones and vibration isolators that help attack submarines detect and track extremely low frequency sounds that hull-mounted sonar arrays might not be able to pick up.

It is designed to help attack submarine crews detect, track, and engage hostile submarines at long distances. The array is particularly effective at detecting quiet conventional and nuclear-powered submarines.

Despite all the military resources that go toward the global war on terrorism, anti-submarine warfare is quietly beginning to receive increasing amounts attention in the Pentagon to counter growing concerns about the Chinese military buildup, particularly in and around the Taiwan Strait.

The TB-23 towed array sonar stores on reels in the attack submarine's ballast tanks, and can deploy as long as 1.6 miles behind the submarine. The sonar array is part of the AN/BQQ-5 and AN/BSY-1 combat systems aboard U.S. Los Angeles-class attack submarines.

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