Thales integrates Compact FLASH dipping sonar system to Algeria’s Super Lynx helicopter

The Super Lynx is the export version of the Lynx helicopter from AgustaWestland (formerly GKN Westland Helicopters).

Algerian Navy has modernized its fleet of Super Lynx Mk-140 anti-submarine helicopters with the Thales Compact Flash dipping sonar system.

The project to modernise all of Algeria’s 10 Super lynx MK-130/140 helicopters was completed in January 2023. Algeria acquired the helicopters in a November 2007 deal for four Super Lynx Mk 130 and six AW101 Mk 610 Merlin helicopters. They are equipped with the ability to carry the South African Mokopa air-to-surface missile.

The naval Super Lynx is a multi-role helicopter for anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, search and rescue and utility operations. The Super Lynx is the export version of the Lynx helicopter from AgustaWestland (formerly GKN Westland Helicopters).

Algerian Super Lynx helicopters were part of naval assets that detected an Israeli Dolphin submarine on the edge of Algerian waters that tried to track a training launch of a cruise missile Club-S from a submarine of project 636 on September 30, 2021.

The two Super Lynx anti-submarine warfare helicopters tracked the Israeli Dolphin-class submarine, after which it was cornered by two Algerian navy project 636 submarines, and then forced to surface in international waters and leave the area.

During the engagement, the Israeli Dolphin surfaced to indicate that it was abandoning the mission and moving away from the Algerian coast. It surfaced 5 km north of Kalaat Ben Abbès, on the edge of international waters outside the training zone.

Designed for smaller and lighter helicopters, the new FLASH compact features an optimised, lightweight architecture and a fully electric reeling machine to enable high-performance sonar system deployment for conducting anti-submarine warfare missions.

Thales low frequency dipping sonar FLASH (Folding Light Acoustic System for Helicopters) is designed for any type of ASW helicopter and is already certified on the ASW versions of platforms such as MH60R, NFH90 “Caiman”, Super Puma, AW101 “Merlin”, AW159 or SL300.

Developed to meet the weight and size requirements of smaller helicopters, the FLASH Compact sonar when integrated with the sonobuoy processing system acts as a complete and effective sonar suite for light aircraft.

Operated as an integrated tactical system or a stand-alone system, the dipping sonars can be used to detect, classify, locate, track and engage enemy submarines and perform mine clearance operations.

The system can be used with shipborne sonars to determine the exact location of a target before launching a strike.

When linked with an active/passive sonobuoy processing system, the FLASH Sonics configuration system provides anti-submarine warfare capability, as well as helps identify small, slow-moving or stationary underwater targets.

The Compact FLASH is dedicated to lightweight helicopters, that features an electrical winch rather than a hydraulic winch. Compact FLASH, which has been specifically developed for the AgustaWestland Super Lynx 300 and AW159 naval helicopters, uses the same FLASH Submersible Unit, Transmitter/Receiver unit and acoustic processing as installed in larger Anti-Submarine Warfare helicopters thus providing the same unrivalled ASW capability to smaller 5-6 tonne class helicopters.

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