L3Harris designs and manufactures pneumatic-powered sonobuoy launching systems for anti-submarine warfare applications. Building on our single-launch and rotary multi-launch systems for the P-8A Poseidon, L3Harris is developing next-generation solutions to meet the complex and ever-evolving needs of the maritime patrol community.
Modular Launch Tube (MLT)
The MLT is an individual launch station that is functional as a stand-alone sonobuoy launcher or configurable in multiples for integration into a system-level solution. MLT is sized to release a single A-size sonobuoy from a standard launch container (SLC) or two F- or G-size buoys through the use of adapters. The MLT weighs approximately 10 pounds when empty. It operates with charge pressures of 1000 to 5000 psi, and features a buoy sensor to ensure positive carriage and launch.
The MLT is an externally ground-loaded system featuring a twist-to-lock bayonet style engagement mechanism. This builds upon the concept of operations and safety demonstrated by years of field experience on platforms such as the P-3 Orion. The MLT can be mounted internally within the fuselage or incorporated into an external pod, making it ideally suited for a number of maritime patrol platforms from light, fixed-wing aircraft to helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
Sonobuoy Dispenser System
Leveraging the unique capabilities of the new MLT, the L3Harris sonobuoy dispenser system (SDS) is an externally pylon-mounted, multi-station, pneumatic sonobuoy launcher. Using L3Harris adapters, the system is capable of launching a mix of A-, F- or G-size buoys. Designed for ultimate versatility, the SDS concept can be configured in a multitude of MLT arrangements optimized for each platform according to their unique weight, flight envelope and mission requirements.
The SDS consists of any combination of MLTs, a ground charged accumulator, and an electronic control unit (ECU) incorporating universal armament interface (UAI) type-1/2 protocol over a MIL-STD-1760 interface. All of these can be integrated into a bespoke mission-specific external pod.
The L3Harris sonobuoy rotary launch system (SRL), currently in use on the P-8A, led to the development of a line of reduced-footprint rotary launchers with common parts for flexible integration on smaller, lightweight platforms. These launchers come in 6-, 8-, or 10-shot variants and can incorporate the launch of A-, F-, or G-size buoys by pneumatic actuation or gravity drop.
The SRL is suitable for both high- and low-altitude applications. Each system:
- Is reloadable in flight
- Incorporates a manual override option
- Integrates into the airframe as an open frame non-pressurized solution
- Can be combined with a pressurized dome and an integral gate valve
- Tandem Buoy System
L3Harris designed a patented retrofit kit system that allows a standard LAU-126/A canister to be modified for the launch of two F- or G-size sonobuoys from a single A-size container. The kits, designed for high-volume manufacture, increase mission loadout and flexibility without any mechanical configuration changes outside of the container.