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National Sonobuoy ASELBUOY Ready for Air-Launch Tests!

Issue 96

On the first day of the 9th Naval Systems Seminar held on October 14-15, 2019, at METU Culture and Congress Center, the Head of Aselsan Naval Systems Group, Behçet KARATAŞ, stated that ASELBUOY is ready for new air-launch tests.  In his presentation titled “Aselsan Combat Systems Solutions for Naval Platforms and the Vision” shared that they are now waiting for a maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) from the Naval Air Command. 

Aselsan recently signed a contract with the Turkish Naval Forces Command for the development process of the ASELBUOY Passive Directional Sonobuoy, which operates in the VHF band. KARATAŞ stated that the first tests were carried out with ASELBUOY following the successful completion of the development process, and the system is ready for launching from air-platforms. The first air-launch and listening tests with ASELBUOY were conducted in 2018. Within this framework, ASELBUOY tests were carried out from a launcher mounted on a Cessna turboprop aircraft; however according to the information shared by KARATAŞ, there was a problem with the deployment of the parachute and this problem was solved after the tests and ASELBUOY was made ready for new launch tests. In his presentation, KARATAŞ also shared the images of the ASELBUOY production and integration process as well as the Sea Tests and Buoy Durability Tests.

In his presentation, KARATAŞ shared the following information about Aselsan's work in the field of Sonobuoy:

“We are developing Sonobuoy within the framework of a protocol we signed with our Navy. In fact, we have reached the final phase, and the system can now be launched from an aircraft. We've carried air-launch tests before, but there were some problems with the parachute. At the end of this year, we intend to deliver this as a product that is both mature and capable enough to enter the inventory of our Navy. 

On Sonobuoy, we are waiting for the Naval Air Command to allocate a maritime patrol aircraft, then we will carry out our final tests. Although Sonobuoy may seem like a simple thing, its parachute must be deployed properly, it must descend to a certain depth when launched into the sea, and its electronic systems must work flawlessly. Although it is small, it requires technical knowledge, know-how, and experience. In fact, the Turkish Navy had started another project, but it didn't succeed, so they came to us, and I hope that the tests will be completed successfully by the end of this year. We are planning to qualify Passive Sonobuoy this year, while Active Sonobuoy and Acoustic Detection Systems will be ready for delivery in 2022”.

ASELBUOY is a NATO-A size passive directional sonobuoy, deployed from maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) and surface ships alike. ASELBUOY can operate in two different depths (30m and 150m), providing directional acoustic information in the 5-2400Hz frequency band on the horizontal plane. The buoy can send this acoustic information to aircraft and surface ships within a 20km communication range via one of its 96 VHF communication channels (136MHz-173.5MHz). VHF communication channel and operating time (0.5, 1, 2, 4, or 8 hrs) are programmable from the user interface on the buoy itself before deployment. ASELBUOY has two different operational depth modes (30m and 150m), and the VHF communication channel and operating time can also be changed after launch by remote commands. As an expendable system, ASELBUOY scuttles at the end of its programmed operating time.

Aselsan is also developing an active ASELBUOY. Therefore, it will be possible to detect passive and silent submarines, which is not possible with passive sonobuoys.  The Active Sonobuoy and Acoustic Detection System will be ready for delivery in 2022, according to the Aselsan Sonar and Submarine Road Map.