Next-Generation Pneumatic Sonobuoy Launch Systems

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 systemlevel 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 pylonmounted, 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 missionspecific external pod.

Reduced-Footprint Rotary

The L3Harris sonobuoy rotary launch system (SRL), currently in use on the P-8A, led to the development of a line of reducedfootprint 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.