Navy asks Thales to build AN/AQS-22 dipping sonar aboard MH-60 anti-submarine warfare (ASW) helicopters

April 12, 2021
The AN/AQS-22 ALFS is the primary sonar of the MH-60R, and enables the helicopter to detect, pinpoint, track, and classify enemy submarines.

RICHMOND, Va. – Airborne anti-submarine warfare (ASW) experts at the Thales Group will build AN/AQS-22 Airborne Low Frequency Sonar (ALFS) systems for U.S. Navy MH-60R helicopter under terms of a $31 million contract announced late last month.

Officials of the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency aviation branch in Richmond, Va., are asking Thales Defense & Security Inc. in Clarksburg, Md., to build airborne low frequency sonar system (ALFS) for the Navy MH-60R helicopters.

Thales designs and builds the AN/AQS-22 ALFS dipping sonar in partnership with the Raytheon Technologies Corp. Missiles & Defense segment in Portsmouth, R.I.

The AN/AQS-22 ALFS is the primary undersea warfare sensor of the MH-60R multi-mission helicopter. This integrated dipping sonar system enables the MH-60R to detect, pinpoint, track, and classify enemy submarines, and perform acoustic intercept, underwater communications, and environmental data acquisition.

Related: Navy makes big purchase of multistatic sonobuoys for anti-submarine warfare (ASW) against advanced threats

The AN/AQS-22 has multi-frequency capability that enables the system to adapt its performance to varying environmental conditions. With a rapid search rate, the AN/AQS-22 identifies and neutralizes threats quickly, and to cover a large area.

The AN/AQS-22 also permits a long detection range over a wide area, reducing the number of helicopter sorties necessary to perform active airborne ASW screening. The dipping sonar system weighs 600 pounds, has a strong, safe, and reliable reeling system, and built-in fault monitoring.

On this order Thales will do the work in France and Maryland, and should be finished by March 2024. For more information contact Thales Defense & Security online at, or the Defense Logistics Agency-Aviation at

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