How Do Anti Submarine Helicopters Work? Helicopters with anti-submarine warfare (ASW) systems are widely deployed by naval forces as a means to counter submarines at long ranges. Naval-technology.com lists the 10 best anti-submarine warfare helicopters based on ASW equipment, range and endurance. Check the best anti submarine helicopter picks below.
How Do Anti Submarine Helicopters Work
anti submarine aircraft
The MH-60R Romeo is a next-generation Anti-Submarine Warfare and Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW) helicopter produced by Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation. It is currently one of the most advanced naval helicopters available.
The MH-60R, with a maximum take-off weight of 10,659kg, is capable of operating from frigates, destroyers, corvettes and aircraft carriers. It has the ability to conduct fully independent or coordinated ASW missions and can find, track and destroy all modern subsurface threats.
The first MH-60R completed its maiden flight in July 2001 and more than 300 helicopters are currently in operation worldwide. The helicopters are equipped with a sonobuoy launcher, forward-looking infrared radar (FLIR), multi-mode radar, dipping sonar, integrated self-defence suite and four weapon stations to carry homing torpedoes and anti-ship missiles.
NH90 NFH (Naval Frigate Helicopter)
The NH90 NFH, offered by NHIndustries, is an advanced ASW helicopter built by Thales. The helicopter is operated by the Italian Navy, French Navy, Royal Netherlands Navy, Norwegian Navy, and Belgian Navy.
The NH90 NFH features a wide cabin to accommodate special operation troops or wounded personnel along with ASW/ASuW systems such as mission consoles, Sonobuoys, electronic support measures (ESM) and countermeasures. It has a take-off weight of 11t and can operate from a variety of vessels day and night and in all weather conditions.
The helicopter is installed with FLASH (Folding Light Acoustic System for Helicopters) dipping sonar/sonics systems to detect quiet submarines operating in the open ocean and in littoral waters. The helicopter can be armed with two MU90 / Mk46 or Stingray ASW torpedoes, has a range of 982km, and can conduct ASW missions for up to four hours.
The Z-18F is an anti-submarine variant of the Z-18 medium-lift helicopter developed by the Changhe Aircraft Industry Group (CAIG). The helicopter, with a maximum take-off weight of 13.8t, can be deployed on smaller surface combatants of the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN). It forms a part of the helicopter wing aboard the Liaoning (CV-16) aircraft carrier.
The Z-18F is equipped with an electro-optic/infrared sensor, a dipping sonar, and a chin-mounted surface search radar. It can carry up to 32 sonobuoys and four Yu-7 light-weight ASW torpedoes or YJ-9 anti-ship missiles.
Powered by three WZ-6C turboshaft engines, the Z-18F ASW helicopter attains a top speed of more than 330km/h and a maximum range of 900km.
Ka-27 or Ka-28 (export designation) can conduct missions from a variety of naval vessels to counter modern subsurface and surface threats.MUST READ
A class in stealth – the world’s best navy corvettes
The Ka-27 helicopter made its first flight in December 1973 and is used by the naval forces of Russia, Ukraine, Vietnam, China, and India. The helicopters are equipped with VGS-3 dipping sonar and sonobuoys to track and detect submarines.
The helicopter is capable of firing torpedoes and anti-submarine missiles and can also be armed with PLAB-250-120 anti-submarine bombs and OMAB bombs. The Ka-27 has a flight range of 900km.
AW159 Lynx Wildcat
The AW159 Lynx Wildcat is an advanced multi-role, maritime and utility aircraft produced by AgustaWestland for the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD). Based on the Lynx family of helicopters, the AW159 Wildcat will replace the Lynx fleet in the British Army and Royal Navy.
The airframe design of the Lynx Wildcat is built to operate off the smallest frigates and offshore patrol vessels and corvettes. The helicopter integrates AESA radar, active dipping sonar, electro-optical device, ESM and defence aids suite, making it one of the best ASW helicopter in the world.
Onboard sensors and mission systems enable the Lynx Wildcat to autonomously find and track surface and sub-surface targets while its air-to-surface missiles, torpedoes, depth charges, rockets and guns ensure the engagement of such targets. The AW159 Lynx Wildcat has a maximum endurance of two hours and 42 minutes.
Super Lynx 300
The Super Lynx 300 ASW/ASuW helicopter is a multi-role naval helicopter produced by AgustaWestland. It is a successor to the combat-proven Lynx helicopter already deployed by 15 nations worldwide.
The Super Lynx 300 is designed to operate day or night from small-sized warships in all weather conditions. The onboard mission equipment such as a 360° multi-mode surveillance radar, electro-optical surveillance system and active dipping sonar ensure the autonomous detection and pursuit of surface and submerged targets.
The Super Lynx 300 is armed with torpedoes and depth charges to attack submarines while pintle-mounted 12.7/7.62mm machine guns, anti-ship missiles and rockets ensure the engagement of potential surface threats. The helicopter has a maximum range of 564km and a maximum endurance of three hours.
S-70B SEAHAWK ASW / ASuW Helicopter
The S-70B SEAHAWK is an ASW/ASuW helicopter developed by Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation. The helicopter is capable of operating from frigates, destroyers, corvettes and other warships, and its variants are widely operated across the world.
The S-70B helicopter is fitted with search radar, sonobuoy launcher, Helicopter Long-Range Active Sonar (HELRAS) dipping sonar, towed magnetic anomaly detector, acoustic processing unit, forward-looking infra-red (FLIR), and countermeasures.
The S-70B features three weapon stations carrying EuroTorp A244 or MK-46 homing torpedoes, Penguin anti-ship missiles, and Hellfire air-to-surface missiles. The helicopter has a maximum speed of 270km/h and a range of 592km.
Z-9EC ASW Helicopter
The Z-9EC is an ASW helicopter developed by Harbin Aircraft based on Harbin Z-9 helicopter, a license-built version of the French AS365 Dauphin. The Z-9EC is operated by the Pakistan Navy’s Naval Air Arm.
The helicopter integrates advanced anti-submarine systems such as search radar, dipping sonar system, and ET-52C anti-submarine torpedoes for hunting submarines. The Harpoon landing/take-off system aboard the helicopter ensures operations from ships.
The Z-9EC enhances the operational range of the host platform while meeting the challenging requirements of modern ASW warfare. The helicopter has a maximum range of 427km and can remain airborne for 2.27 hours.
The AW101 (formerly EH101 Merlin) multi-role helicopter is capable of performing a wide range of missions in maritime and littoral environments. The helicopter can be deployed in medium-sized transport, ASW, ASuW, long-range search-and-rescue (SAR), airborne mine countermeasures and ship-based utility missions.
The AW101 helicopters configured for autonomous ASW and ASuW missions integrate a mission system composed of dipping sonar, sonobuoys and electronic warfare suite. The helicopter has four torpedoes/depth charges in its weaponry.
The helicopter can also be armed with anti-ship missiles, air-to-air missiles, air-to-surface missiles, rockets and gun systems. The typical range and endurance of the AW101 are 1,300km and six hours respectively.
SH-2G Super Seasprite
The SH-2G Super Seasprite is an anti-submarine/anti-surface warfare helicopter developed by Kaman Corporation. It is currently in service with the Egyptian Air Force, Polish Navy, Peruvian Navy and the Royal New Zealand Navy.
The SH-2G was primarily developed as an ASW helicopter for the US Navy and the first international SH-2G was delivered to Egypt in 1997. The helicopter was retired from the US Navy in May 2001.
The Super Seasprite can be equipped with a multi-mode radar, FLIR system, active dipping sonar, sonobuoys, and an acoustic processing unit. The combination of homing torpedoes, depth charges, air-to-surface missiles and machine gun ensures the engagement of surface and submerged targets. The helicopter has a maximum range of more than 830km and an endurance of 3.5 hours.
How to Buy a Private Helicopter: 5 Things You Need to Know When You Are Buying a Private Helicopter
There are many benefits of owning a helicopter, including getting to work on time when living 100 miles (ca. 161 km) away from your office. The main advantage of owning a helicopter is freedom. Once you have permission and some space, you can set your course for any destination.
A private owner in the United Kingdom can fly to Devon and back to London without stopping to refuel. A pub in Oxford, the Manson’s Arms, has a helipad. The photographs of helicopters that visit adorn the walls of the pub. It is a thrilling and bizarre place to visit.
Modern helicopters have engines that are quieter and more efficient with advanced glass cockpits that offer fewer distractions for pilots. Airbus Helicopters’ Ed Sale responded to GQ at the Elite London event giving insight into what to consider when buying a private helicopter.
1. Will You Be the Pilot or the Passenger?
The majority of helicopter owners are pilots so they can fly themselves. Private pilots and those who own a helicopter and fly themselves prefer hands-on, less bulky designs.
Bigger helicopters are usually reserved for professional pilots while the owners sit in the back. The big shots use this as their executive means of transport. Midrange helicopters have administrative abilities too but are fun to handle.
The bigger the aircraft, the more experience a pilot requires. A well-trained amateur can fly any of the Robinson chopper models. The same applies to the B3 and B4 Eurocopter Ecureuil, AgustaWestland Koala and Bell 407. If you are looking at bigger models, like the AgustaWestland A109 with more sophisticated instrumentation, you will need a professional pilot.
If planning to become a pilot, next choose a flying school. Lots of flying schools will issue Private Pilot Licenses PPLs(H). Ask friends with helicopters to recommend a good flying school.
It helps if the flying school is local to you as you need a minimum of 45 hours of training over 12 months. Training costs vary from school to school but expect it to cost around $26,200 (around £20,000). This covers your tests, exams, flying hours, medicals, equipment, and airfield fees.
Training at Heli Air, one of the UK’s largest Robinson helicopter distributors, will cost you $10,500 (around £8,000). This covers theory in subjects like meteorology, air law, and flight planning. A Class 2 medical is compulsory.
After qualifying, you need an annual review to renew your license. You can opt to expand your qualification to include formation flying and night flying. The choice is yours.
2. Predetermine Your Budget
Design, capacity, and the manufacturer determines a helicopter’s price. Set your budget right from the start. It helps narrow your search.
Just like cars, you will have a range of options. Sloane Helicopters marketing director, Giorgio Bendoni, says first-time buyers can choose from the two-seater, single-piston Robinson R22 to the twin-turbine, eight-seater AgustaWestland Grand. It depends on budget flexibility.
While helicopters are expensive, some are cheaper than a Lamborghini. The Robinson R44, the world’s most famous helicopter, costs only $350,000 (around £313,500) and half that second-hand.
When setting your budget, add maintenance costs too. Some helicopter’s cost more to maintain than others. Lower priced helicopters can cost more in maintenance over the long run.
The AgustaWestland Grand and the AgustaWestland A109 are great in sophistication and space, but with an annual depreciation of five to 10 percent, you may want to weigh your options.
You should also consider the cost of insurance, capital investment, and depreciation.
3. How Far Will You Travel?
Aircraft manufacturers offer similar models with a small tweak in design and performance. Cheaper helicopters are smaller. And this limits the number of people it can carry, fuel capacity, and distance it can travel.
So, you need to decide how many people need to travel in your helicopter regularly. Also look at the distance it can travel before needing to refuel. The H125 is a midrange helicopter that guarantees 300 to 350 miles (ca. 563 km) or 2½ hours without refueling.
4. Other Considerations
The Airbus H160 is a new sleek design marketed to business and private customers, while the H125 has strong competition from the Bell 407. The cabin is separate from the cockpit and is luxurious. It has two seats facing each other and is a great option if you have a pilot. In contrast, an Airbus is a better option with you as the pilot as there is no separation from your passengers.
The choice of interior should reflect the helicopter’s purpose. Some people ignore carpets as it is a lot of work to keep clean. Leather seats are an attractive option as are seats with twin leather stitching which are currently in vogue.
Landing Space is Limited
Landing spaces in London are limited due to their tight restrictions on noise control, which limits helicopter paths. Battersea Heliport is the best place to land and continue your journey using other means. Places you can land outside London include Elstree, Denham, Biggin Hill, and Northolt.
Grab a helicopter landing guide to find somewhere to land in London. It has a list of landing sites around the UK and their phone numbers. This allows you to request landing permission before leaving for your destination. They may let you land for free or for a small fee (around $50).
Terms You Should Know
There are terms you should know if you intend to own a helicopter:
- VFR (Visual Flying Rules) means you have to keep sight of the ground.
- IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) means you can fly above or in the clouds.
- A two-seat piston engine VFR is a basic helicopter.
- ILS (Instrument Landing System) is what you dial into to get to the ground.
- You use a noise-canceling headset for communication.
- Autopilot allows you to control the aircraft without moving the controls and is not available in all helicopters.