Israel Aerospace Industries and ATLAS ELEKTRONIK unveil a joint development integrated in the BlueWhale unmanned submarine

The newly-developed system can detect underwater threats

Tel Aviv, May 10, 2023– Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and ATLAS ELEKTRONIK, a company of thyssenkrupp Marine Systems, officially launched their latest joint development for advanced anti-submarine warfare (ASW) missions at the Undersea Defence Technology (UDT) Conference and Exhibition in Rostock, Germany. In a festive ceremony at ELTA’s exhibition booth, Eyal Shapira, Vice President and General Manager of ELTA’s division for Air Defense and Naval Systems, and Michael Ozegowski, Chief Executive Officer of ATLAS ELEKTRONIK, unveiled the joint development, demonstrating an important milestone in the long-standing partnership between thyssenkrupp Marine Systems and the Israeli industry.

Based on ELTA’s sophisticated BlueWhale autonomous underwater multi-mission platform (a large unmanned underwater vehicle with a wide range of advanced sensor systems), the system incorporates ATLAS ELEKTRONIK’s unique, towed passive sonar triplet array. Unlike existing towed sonars, the combined system can function at depths traditionally exploited by submarines to avoid detection. An ATLAS transmitter, deployed from an autonomous (or manned) surface vessel, enables BlueWhale to perform bi-static location and tracking of submarine targets.

IAI is a pioneer in the field of unmanned systems in the air, ground space and sea domains. The world’s first UAV was developed by IAI for the Israel Defense Forces, and during recent decades IAI has become a leader for robotic ground systems, unmanned vessels, loitering munitions and more. BlueWhale has been successfully tested for thousands of diving hours, performing a wide range of missions, including ISR, EW/ESM and MCM. 

During the BlueWhale presentation, Michael Ozegowski, Chief Executive Officer of ATLAS ELEKTRONIK, highlighted the excellent partnership between the two companies spanning decades: “The joint development of the BlueWhale ASW demonstrates once again the long-standing and trusting cooperation between German and Israel naval industry partners. In close collaboration with ELTA, we developed a state-of-the-art system solution enabling high impact ASW operations with minimum infrastructure requirements. The ATLAS ELEKTRONIK towed passive sonar triplet array and advanced transmitter solution is optimized for long-endurance autonomous operations, meeting operational needs and capabilities in an efficient and cost-effective way.”

Eyal Shapira, VP& GM Air Defense & Naval Systems Division, ELTA IAI said: “This new joint development is a result of the close relationship between IAI ELTA and ATLAS, and between Germany and Israel. BlueWhale relies on ELTA’s extensive experience in Machine Learning and AI-driven autonomous systems together with the company’s advanced payloads, including AESA radars, SIGINT systems and secure, long-range communications systems. Highly-developed, onboard processing ensures that the incoming intelligence data is exploited in a timely and efficient manner.” 

The ATLAS towed sonar array incorporates the company’s one-hundred-and-twenty-year legacy in the design, development, and production of naval systems. Based on the company’s proven ACTAS (Active Towed Array Sonar) platform, the Deep-Water Sonar System is purpose-designed for submarine deployment. It utilizes a low-frequency sonar facilitating excellent area coverage while maintaining high sensitivity, at depths previously beyond the reach of conventional sonar systems.