An Italian company that specializes in aerospace, defense, and security, has recently developed a new airborne system capable of detecting and tracking multiple underwater submarines. Developed by Leonardo, The Ultra-LIght SonicS Enhanced System (ULISSES) has recently successfully completed a live sea trial in Italian waters. The system managed to accurately locate several, simulated submarines by processing signals sent from 64 sonobuoys in the water.

The successful sea trails have cleared the way for the system to go into production by next year.

One of the most important technologies utilized in submarine warfare is sonar. Until the invention of sonar technology, the second submarine would submerge underwater they would effectively become invisible. Thanks to sonar technology, it is possible to listen to other submerged submarines and locate their location.

Submarines utilizing sonar works by sending out a “ping” that would bounce off underwater objects and sensors onboard the submarine will detect the angle and time it took for the “ping” to return to the submarine. Throughout the years, sonar technology has developed and advanced, however the general concept of sonar technology stayed the same.

However, whenever submarines use sonar to find other submarines, they themselves give off a noise which can be used by other ships and sonar sensors to locate the submarine. So developing a technology that takes the sonar responsibilities from the submarine and moving it to sonobuoys and airborne devices such as the ULISSES is perfect for helping submarines identify threats while staying hidden.

ULISSES is a lightweight package that consists of a processor, transmitter, receiver, and recorder, according to Newatlas.com. The system weighs less than 20 kilograms and is small enough to be placed on a helicopter or light UAV. They system collects data from 64 sonobuoys which allows it to identify multiple submarines and also triangulate their location.

The company claims that ULISSES was able to identify targets and display them on the operator’s workstation during the sea trials. The system could also be used to control sonobuoys and can be used with a wide variety of sensors enabling automatic tracking.

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