About Us
Our history
share price placeholder

Share Price 1142.00p change of -44.00p
Tuesday 21 November 2017 16:35PM right arrow share 12 month share price graph

History of Ultra Electronics Maritime Systems Inc.

Date

Company Name

Owner

1947

Cossor (Canada) Ltd

AC Cossor

1959

EMI Cossor Electronics Ltd

EMI (UK)/AC Cossor

1967

EMI Electronics Canada Ltd

EMI (UK)

1970

Hermes Electronics Ltd

Venturetek

1977

Hermes Electronics Ltd

Magna International

1986

Hermes Electronics Ltd

Devtek Corp.

1994

Devtek Applied Electronics Inc.

Devtek Corp.

1995

Hermes Electronics Ltd

First overseas acquisition by Ultra Electronics Plc (UK)

2002

Ultra Electronics Maritime Systems Inc.

Ultra Electronics Canada Inc.


The History of Sonobuoys

The term sonobuoy is a contraction of the words sonar and buoy. During the waning days of World War One, the British Admiralty invented an effective Sound Navigation and Ranging (SONAR) system for its warships to detect subsurface obstacles. However, it wasn’t until the Second World War that the ravaging wolf-packs of German U-Boats convinced the allies that a remote device was needed to detect the submarines as they approached from astern. The proposed solution was to drop buoys equipped with hydrophones from convoy ships. These special "radio sonobuoys" fitted with HF transmitters operated on one of six frequencies to relay detection of a submarine to the convoy, alerting them of an imminent attack.

As a result of the joint war effort between the UK and USA, early sonobuoy development activities took place at the War Research Laboratory of Columbia University, the Sonar Research Unit of Portland and the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough. By March 1942, airborne tests using Blimp K-5 and the US Navy submarine S-20 validated the overall concept of using sonobuoys for detecting submarines and resulted in the first sonobuoy system becoming operational in early 1943. These early trials demonstrated an acoustic detection range of 3 miles with an RF range of 5 miles.

The first successful launch of a sonobuoy from an aircraft was made from a US Army B-18 bomber in July 1942. One month later, buoys were dropped against a German U-boat. Early in 1943, the US Navy deployed the system in B-24 Liberator's flying from Argentia, Newfoundland, and from Dunkeswell, Devon. Nonetheless, it was a Canadian Hudson, operating out of Iceland, which later that year claimed the first submarine 'kill' for an aircraft using sonobuoys.

Hudson Antisubmarine Patrol Aircraft

Proving its merit, the US Navy ordered 59,700 CRT-1A sonobuoys, which were used in antisubmarine action around the world during the Second World War. Although somewhat unsophisticated, these Bsized (6.875” x 60”) omni-directional sonobuoys played an essential part in the birth of airborne ASW. By 1950, Ultra was producing sonobuoys for the UK MoD using a Ministry of Aviation design. The SSQ- 2, an A-size (4.75” x 36”) Low Frequency Analysis and Recording (LOFAR) sonobuoy, replaced the CRT-1A and entered production in 1953. The CRT-1A was followed by the development of the CRT-4 directional sonobuoy in early 1943, which was finally accepted into inventory in 1955 as the SSQ-1.

Operationally, these sonobuoys were laid in patterns of five buoys and the operator estimated the signal strength of the target on each of the buoys in contact. The navigator then used concentric circle overlays in an attempt to localize the submarine using relative signal strength. As technology was added to the ASW aircraft, the use of Doppler was use to ascertain whether the submarine was travelling towards or away from a particular sonobuoy as well as its speed of advance. In the late 1950s, Canada, the UK and the USA entered into a tripartite agreement to standardize the principal features of sonobuoys. This arrangement was eventually extended to NATO and today the NATO subgroup 41 meets annually to discuss interoperability.

 

CRT-1A Sonobuoy

In 1960, the SSQ-28 commenced production and was specifically designed to be deployed from the US Navy’s P-2V Neptune aircraft. With its 95 foot sensor depth and seawater battery power, the SSQ-28 is viewed as the first true LOFAR sonobuoy and was able to detect underwater sounds between 10 and 2,500 hertz. In 1961, the production version of the first active sonobuoy, the B-size SSQ-15, entered operational service. Although weighing more than 60 pounds, the SSQ-15 was reliably able to provide the airborne ASW operator with active detection ranges of more than 2,500 yards. With the emergence of the large, four-engine P-3 Orion ASW aircraft in 1962, sonobuoys began to take on more importance as the Cold War simultaneously began to heat up. Accurate sonar predictions were required in order to tactical employ the new generation of air deployed sonobuoys and, as a consequence, the SSQ-36 bathythermograph buoy was developed. With the ability to map sea temperature as a function of depth, the sound velocity profile could be calculated and detection ranges and probable submarine operating depths determined.

 

SSQ-36 Bathybuoy

The SSQ-41 LOFAR emerged in the mid 1960s as the standard omni directional (LOFAR) sonobuoy and was manufactured by Ultra, Magnavox, and Sparton. Canada and the UK developed their own versions of these sonobuoys (SSQ-527 and SSQ-906 respectively) and literally millions of these sonobuoys were manufactured with production ending in the 1980s. Although the LOFAR sonobuoy offered relatively long range passive detection of submerged submarines, localization and tracking was difficult and highly dependent on Doppler analysis. The SQ-53 series of Directional Frequency Analysis and Recording (DIFAR) sonobuoys was developed in order to overcome this issue. The first DIFAR sonobuoy entered production in the late 1960s and has been the mainstay of passive ASW ever since. The latest versions include Canada’s SSQ-53D(3), the US SSQ-53F, and Britain’s SSQ-955. Although serving essentially the same purpose, each of these DIFAR sonobuoys are unique in the way in which they function. The SSQ- 955 is a G-size (4.75” x 16.5”) gravity launch buoy that employs a digital uplink to the aircraft, the SSQ- 53F contains not only a DIFAR sensor, but also a calibrated omni sensor, as well as, an uncalibrated omni sensor near the surface. Lastly, the SSQ-53D(3) was designed to offer superior performance in the low frequency regime, where much of a submarine’s propulsion plant sound is found. Similarly, the range only SSQ-15 active sonobuoy evolved into the SSQ-47 and then, ultimately the SSQ-62 Directional Command Active Sonobuoy System (DICASS). The latest variant being the SSQ-62E, which offers the selection of four different acoustic ‘ping’ frequencies and the ability to command the sonobuoy to different operating depths after it has been deployed.

Today quieter submarines operating in littoral waters have once again tilted the antisubmarine war in favour of the submarine. However, a counter volley, in the form of multi-statics, is being launched by the airborne ASW community. Using high-power, low frequency sources coupled with specially designed passive receivers, the maritime patrol community hopes to recoup some, if not all, of the lost ground. Ultra is deeply involved in all aspects of multi-static development in the UK, Canada, and US through the on-going development and manufacture of the SSQ-926, SSQ-565, and SSQ-125 multi-static active sources and SSQ-981, SSQ-573, and SSQ-101 multi-static receivers.

 

Ultra’s Portfolio of Sonobuoys

Back to top of page

X

Please read this notice carefully – it applies to all persons who view this webpage.


ELECTRONIC VERSIONS OF THE MATERIALS YOU ARE SEEKING TO ACCESS ARE BEING MADE AVAILABLE ON THIS WEBPAGE BY ULTRA ELECTRONICS HOLDINGS PLC (THE “COMPANY”) AND FOR INFORMATION PURPOSES ONLY.

THE MATERIALS CONTAINED ON THIS WEBPAGE ARE RESTRICTED AND ARE NOT DIRECTED AT OR TO BE ACCESSED BY, OR DISTRIBUTED OR DISSEMINATED TO, DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY, IN WHOLE OR IN PART, PERSONS RESIDENT OR PHYSICALLY LOCATED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (INCLUDING ITS TERRITORIES AND POSSESSIONS, ANY STATE OF THE UNITED STATES AND THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA) (THE “UNITED STATES”), AUSTRALIA, NEW ZEALAND, CANADA, THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA, HONG KONG, SINGAPORE OR JAPAN OR ANY OTHER JURISDICTION WHERE THE RELEVANT ACTION WOULD BE UNLAWFUL (“RESTRICTED JURISDICTION”).

Basis of access

The materials contained on this webpage contain information in respect of the proposed placing of the Company (the “Placing”). The materials do not constitute an offer to sell or otherwise dispose of, or a solicitation of any offer to purchase or subscribe for, any securities of the Company (the “Securities”) in any jurisdiction where such offer or solicitation is unlawful.

Please note that this notice may be altered or updated from time to time. You should read it carefully in full each time you access this webpage.

The information contained on this webpage speaks only at the specified date of the relevant document or announcement reproduced on this webpage, and neither the Company nor any of its affiliated companies has, or accepts, any responsibility or duty to update or revise any such information, document or announcement (other than to the extent such duty arises as a matter of law or regulation) and reserves the right to add to, remove or amend any information reproduced on this webpage at any time in whole or in part at its sole discretion.

Overseas persons

Viewing this information may be unlawful if you are resided or located in a Restricted Jurisdiction. In certain jurisdictions, including Restricted Jurisdictions, only certain categories of persons may be allowed to view such materials. All persons resident or physically located outside the United Kingdom who wish to view these materials must first satisfy themselves that they are not subject to any local requirements that prohibit or restrict them from doing so and should inform themselves of, and observe, any applicable legal or regulatory requirements applicable in their jurisdiction.

The Company has not registered, and will not register, the Securities under the United States Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “US Securities Act”), or with any securities regulatory authority of any state or other jurisdiction of the United States. The Securities cannot be offered or sold, delivered or otherwise transferred in or into the United States except pursuant to an exemption from, or in a transaction not subject to, the registration requirements of the US Securities Act and in compliance with all applicable securities laws of any state or other jurisdiction of the United States. There will be no public offering of the Securities in the United States. The materials contained on this webpage do not constitute an offer to sell or otherwise dispose of, or a solicitation of any offer to purchase or subscribe for, any Securities in the United States or in any jurisdiction where such offer or solicitation would be unlawful.

It is your responsibility to satisfy yourself as to the full observance of any relevant laws and regulatory requirements.

If you are not permitted, or if you are in any doubt as to whether you are permitted, to view the information, please exit this webpage by clicking on the “Decline” button at the bottom of this page.

Any person seeking access to this webpage represents and warrants to the Company that they are doing so for information purposes only. Making press announcements and other documents available in electronic format does not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy Securities. Further, it does not constitute a recommendation by the Company or any other party to sell or buy Securities.

By choosing the “Accept” option, you represent that you have read and understood this notice and are able to give the confirmation and representations set out under the “Confirmation of understanding and acceptance of disclaimer” heading below, including the representation that you are not resident or physically located in a Restricted Jurisdiction, and that the Company is lawfully entitled to make the content of any communication or document in relation to the Placing available to you under applicable securities laws. If you are not permitted to view the information on this webpage, or viewing the information would result in a breach of the above, or if you are unable to give any of the confirmations or representations, please exit this webpage and do not view the content of any communication or document in relation to the Placing.

Copies of the contents of the following pages (including documents posted thereon) must not be, directly or indirectly, released, mailed, transmitted or otherwise forwarded, distributed or sent, in whole or in part, in or into a Restricted Jurisdiction, and persons receiving such documents (including, without limitation, custodians, nominees and trustees) should observe these restrictions and must not, directly or indirectly, mail, transmit or otherwise forward, distribute or send any such documents in, into or from any such jurisdiction. The Company and its advisers do not assume any responsibility for any violation by any person of any of these restrictions.

This notice shall be governed by, and interpreted in accordance with, English law.

Confirmation of understanding and acceptance of disclaimer

  1. I certify that I have read and understand and agree to comply with all of the restrictions set forth above.
  2. I certify that I am resident and physically present outside a Restricted Jurisdiction, and I am not acting on behalf of someone who is resident or physically present in any Restricted Jurisdiction.
  3. I agree that I will not forward, transfer or distribute (by any means including by electronic transmission) any information contained in this webpage (either in whole or in part) to any person in any Restricted Jurisdiction.
  4. represent and warrant to the Company that I intend to access the webpage for information purposes only, that I have read and understood this notice and that I understand it may affect my rights or responsibilities.
  5. I agree to be bound by the terms of this notice.

Acceptance of disclaimer

By clicking on the “Accept” option at the bottom of this page, you hereby acknowledge that you have read and understood the notice set out above, that you are able to give the confirmation and representations set out under the “Confirmation of understanding and acceptance of disclaimer” heading above, that you are permitted to proceed to the webpage and agree to be bound by its terms.

By clicking on the “Decline” button at the bottom of this page, you will not be able to proceed to the webpage.


Decline Accept