SAES bid farewell to the last P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft

The Ministry of Defence decided back in 2001 to provide the P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircrafts with Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) capabilities, as well as to develop a Tactical Mission System integrating all the aircraft sensors, and a Mission Support Centre to give intelligence support to ASW missions. SAES was one of the Spanish companies chosen for the modernisation of the P-3 Orion aircraft fleet, for its SPAS system (Sonobuoys Acoustic Processor System) and its ARAS system (Fast Time Analyser System).

After almost 50 years in service for the Spanish Air Force, on 16th December 2022 a farewell event for the last P-3 Orion aircraft took place at Morón de la Frontera Air Base (Seville). The event was chaired by the Chief of Staff of the Spanish Air and Space Force, general Javier Salto Martínez-Avial, who mentioned that the following months will be a transition until the Spanish Government replace the retired aircraft.

The P-3 Orion aircraft was part of the 11th Wing from Spanish Air Force, one of the key assets in air patrol missions such as the ‘Atalanta Operation’ (a counter-piracy military operation at sea off the Horn of Africa) and anti-submarine warfare.

SAES bid farewell to the last P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft

The end of the P-3 Orion operating lifetime by 2022 means the Spanish Air Force temporarily loses its capability on maritime patrol aircrafts (MPAs). During 2023 the Ministry of Defence is due to buy four C-295 MPA, and SAES will take part with its SPAS-32 system.

SAES participation in the P-3 Orion aircrafts.

In 2001 the Spanish Ministry of Defence wanted to boost the modernisation of the P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircrafts, operated by Group 22 (11th Wing) from Spanish Air Force.

The project included a strong participation of the Spanish industry. Companies such as AIRBUS (then called EADS CASA), Indra, Tecnobit, ITP Aero or SAES assumed responsibility for providing aircrafts with the most advanced ASW capabilities in the market. The aim was to develop a Tactical Mission System integrating all of the plane sensors, allowing full tactical and operational cooperation, which was finally called FITS (Fully Integrated Tactical System).

SAES took part in the P-3 Orion aircraft with its Sonobuoys Acoustic Processor System (SPAS) in its SPAS-16 version. This system has been able to concurrently process 16 passive and active sonobuoys and record up to 32 sonobuoys.

SPAS is a system fully integrated with the Tactical Mission System, which allows the acoustic operator detecting, locating, classifying and tracking submarines and surface ships by the passive and active acoustic data gathered by the deployed sonobuoys.

Another key objective for the modernisation of the fleet was to provide them with a Mission Support Centre to give intelligence support to ASW missions. To that end, the Ministry of Defence signed a contract with SAES to implement its Fast Time Analyser System (ARAS). It is a portable system that can be deployed whenever the Air Forces need to conduct ASW missions.

The SPAS system had its operational christening during the NATO Operation Noble Manta 2006, and the ARAS system was launched during the NATO Operation Noble Manta 2008.

SAES bid farewell to the last P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft
SAES bid farewell to the last P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft

SAES presents its ASW and MIRS systems at the Chilean show Expo Naval 2022

SAES has showcased two of its systems at Expo Naval 2022: the SPAS (Sonobuoys Acoustic Processor System) that are installed on board C-295 aircrafts since 2010, and the MIRS (Multi-Influence Signature Measurement for ships and submarines). The Chilean naval show is celebrated every two years since 1998 and it has been consolidated as an encounter in Latin America for the international defence industry.

The 12 International Naval Exhibition and Congress for Latin America took place from the 29th November to the 2nd December in Valaparaíso (Chile). Navy representatives from 35 countries attended the show, along with 160 exhibitor companies, leaders on technology solutions for the naval and defence industries.

SAES presented its latest generation of SPAS (Sonobuoys Acoustic Processor System) and MIRS (Multi-Influence Signature Measurement for ships and submarines), among its solutions for Anti Submarine Warfare (ASW) for detecting, locating and tracking underwater threats from aerial platforms.

SAES has vast experience developing these systems for international Navies such as those of Chile, Brazil or Sweden. Chile is a key country for SAES, as they have SAES SPAS system installed in their C-295 aircrafts since 2010.

Sonobuoys acoustic processor systems

Together with the SPAS system, the DISOUROS (Integrated ASW Solution for Dipping Sonar and Sonobuoys) are both ASW solutions in the international market lead, and are developed by SAES for warships, maritime patrol aircrafts, ASW helicopters and RPAS (Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems).

SPAS is a solution for ASW aircrafts. An acoustic system integrated with the Tactical Mission System that allows detecting, locating and tracking submarines and ships by the acoustic signal measurement done by the sonobuoys deployed.

SPAS system is operational in different countries and different platforms such as the P-3B Orión and the C-295 aircrafts, and the SH-60B LAMPS and the A-109 helicopters.

The SPAS system also allows RPAS act as an advanced measurement station for the early warning of submarine contact.

The DISOURUS system incorporates the interoperability between the different ASW platforms involved, which allows to have a common operational picture with all the tactical information.

Underwater Signature Measurement

The MIRS system is a portable signature measurement station that receives the full signature (acoustic, magnetic and electrical) of any surface ship or submarine. It can be also used as a discreet device to gather intelligence information of the underwater signature or as a tool to verify the levels of the ship signature before an ASW mission.

Alejandro Rejas, head of Defence Market and Ignacio Gutiérrez, head of the ASW Line, representing SAES, together with frigate captain Sebastián Simenone.

SAES participates in the virtual edition of ADM Sevilla 2021

It presents its solutions for submarine and antisubmarine defence for naval and air platforms.

SAES participates in the digital event organized by Aerospace and Defence Meetings Sevilla, from May 26 to 27, with a virtual stand, where it shows its antisubmarine warfare systems (ASW) based on sonobuoys for installation on all types of platforms involved in the war naval such as mine hunters, frigates, submarines, MPA aircraft, ASW helicopters and RPAS.

The fifth edition of ADM Sevilla 2021, the largest business event in the aerospace sector in Spain and one of the main in Europe, is organized by Extenda – Andalusia Export and Foreign Investment, and by the French company BCI Aerospace, specialist in international meetings of the Aeronautic sector.

SAES ASW products

The ASW products that SAES presents at ADM Sevilla are the DISOUROS, for combat ships and ASW helicopters, and the SPAS acoustic sonobuoy processing system for Maritime Patrol Aircraft and RPAS.

DISOUROS is a powerful and advanced acoustic processor for detecting, locating and pursuing underwater threats through the integrated use of low frequency dipping sonar (DS) and passive sonobuoys. It provides multi-statism and interoperability between the ASW platforms involved in the mission: corvettes, frigates, helicopters, MPA aircraft. DISOUROS is fully operational on platforms such as the Visby-class corvettes and the A-109 helicopters.

SPAS is an acoustic sonobuoy processor for detecting, locating and chasing underwater threats from aerial platforms. It incorporates the most advanced acoustic processing techniques for all types of passive and active sonobuoys, in analog and digital implementation. SPAS is fully operational in different countries and different platforms such as the P-3B Orion aircraft, the C-295 aircraft and the SH-60B LAMPS helicopter.

SAES also provides ground support systems for both analysis of ASW missions (such as FTAS) and for training acoustic operators (such as TAT).

SAES is the only Spanish company specialized in underwater acoustics and electronics with more than 30 years of experience in Sonar Systems, Submarine Signatures, Submarine Protection and ASW Systems. SAES technology is in service for various Navies and Naval Forces on 5 continents. SAES systems are at the forefront in sonobuoy processing and at the forefront in the international market.