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Export marketing contract for Australian anti-submarine weapon

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Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Ltd has been

awarded a contract to co-ordinate marketing of the Australian

designed and built Barra sonobuoy. Commonwealth Aircraft

Corporation also will provide marketing support to the

Department on specific aspects of the project.

The Minister for Defence, Mr D.J. Killen,

announced this today.

Mr Killen said the Barra sonobuoy was a complex

device dropped into the sea by anti-submarine aircraft to locate

submarines. Barra used sensitive arrayed hydrophones to detect

acoustic noise emissions. It operated at selectable

depths, and consisted of a surface buoy and a suspended

submerged array assembly.

The buoy was part of a joint Australian/British

system, with the UK developing and building the AQS901

airborne computer which picks up radio signals transmitted from

the sonobuoy and processes them into a "fix" which can be

utilised by the aircraft's crew.

Mr Killen said that the buoy would be exhibited at

the Paris Air Show commencing on Saturday, June 9. The

sonobuoy would be a feature of the Australian stand in the

exhibition hall with the upper canister of the buoy suspended

from a parachute from the roof of the building.

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He said the Barra sonobuoy had proved in recent

trials that its detection and location performance was superior

to that of other sonobuoys presently available overseas, and

that the buoy had a good potential for export sales to approved


The UK had ordered buoys valued at about $8 million for

its Nimrod anti-submarine aircraft, and further orders were

expected. The RAAF would commence using Barra sonobuoys

after installation of the AQS901 sonics processor in its

newly acquired Orion P3C aircraft.

Mr Killen said the Barra system design evolved

from the Australian Defence Research Centre's successful Nangana

project. The Barra sonobuoy had been developed by Australian

industry in association with the Department of Defence and

was now being manufactured by AWA Ltd as prime contractor.

. .Releasing details of the system, he said the Barra array

could be focused by the monitoring aircraft to listen along

a narrow beam and thus achieved a long detection range. The

use of an integral compass permitted the bearing of contacts

to be determined with high accuracy. Using the Barra system,

it would be possible to accurately fix the position and track

a submerged submarine without its crew being aware that it had

been detected.

The ability to detect over greater ranges than

other sonobuoys enabled fewer, or even a single Barra buoy,

to cover the same sea area; alternatively, the same number

of buoys would enable coverage of a larger area. This,

combined with a long operational life and high probability of

accurate location, offered a significant improvement in maritime

patrol aircraft effectiveness. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * -

Further Inquiries: Mr Bruce Davis 65 2999 (office .hours) 82 2270 (after hours)