Australia’s MH-60R ‘Romeos’ tout ‘underwater Aegis’

Romeo 2.jpgDuring the this year’s Avalon air show I had a choice: amedia dinner at Gordon Ramsey’s famous restaurant, or dinner with the LockheedMartin guys pitching the MH-60R ‘Romeo’ to Australia. Things military beingfar more interesting than things edible, I opted for the Romeo dinner. 

The meal, with three Lockheed guys and two otherjournalists, turned out to be excellent. Far more interesting was my discussionwith one of the Lockheed guys, a former US navy officer who had spent agood part of his career hunting submarines in the Seasprite and Seahawkhelicopters.  

Given the rising prevalence of super quiet diesel electricsubmarines in the Asia Pacific, both in North Asia and Southeast Asia, I asked him if sensors were still up to the task of findingthem. Turns out the old ‘listen for the enemy submarine’  - as in the iconic book The Hunt for RedOctober -  is no longer how its done.

These days its all about ultra low frequency sonar, which myhost called ‘The underwater Aegis, ‘ referring to the active electronicallyscanned array radar used on US Arleigh Burke destroyers and Ticonderogacruisers. In the Romeo this capability is provided by the Raytheon ASQ-22dipping sonar. He told me the ASQ-22 has been very effective in exercisesagainst diesel electric submarines operated by allied powers.

“When the submarines hear the Romeos will be in the exercise,they know they are going to get caught,” he said.

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One Response to Australia’s MH-60R ‘Romeos’ tout ‘underwater Aegis’

  1. keesje 18 June, 2011 at 3:18 am #

    I heard the Romeo is less advanced, has less range and less capasity. But it can use much of the existing infrastructure, is lower priced, available earlier and provides commonality with the US Navy.

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