role of Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) helicopters is to protect the
fleet from enemy submarines. These helicopters are fitted with
sophisticated sensors and are armed with missiles and torpedoes to
track and hunt down enemy boats. Usually anti-submarine warfare
helicopters also perform anti-shipping and search and rescue tasks.
So which is
the best anti-submarine warfare helicopter in the
world? Which is the most capable ASW chopper? Our Top 10
analysis is based on available specifications and data. This list do not includes
helicopters, that are
currently in development or at the prototype stage. It includes only
helicopters that are in service.
top 10 anti-submarine warfare helicopters in the world are these:
Seahawk is a multi-mission helicopter, operated by the US Navy. It
is also referred as Romeo. It is a further development of the
SH-60B Seahawk, Development began in 1993. It
was designed to combine features of the SH-60B and SH-60F
anti-submarine warfare helicopters. First low-rate initial
production helicopters were remanufactured form the SH-60Bs. However
subsequent helicopters were newly built. The MH-60R was first
deployed in 2009. Currently this helicopter is used by the US Navy
(over 100 units) and Royal Australian Navy.
missions of the MH-60R Seahawk are Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) and
Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW). This helicopter can detect and track
submarines and surface ships and attack with torpedoes and missiles.
has advanced mission systems and sensors. It carries advanced
airborne active sonar, multi-mode search radar and nose-mounted
forward-looking infrared (FLIR) turret. Its multi-mode search radar
has an automatic periscope detection and discrimination capability.
Also it carries air-launched sonobuoys. However magnetic anomaly
detector suite was removed. Data is transferred via advanced
airborne fleet data link.
has improved offensive capabilities comparing with SH-60B or SH-60F.
It has stub wings and can carry two Mk.46, Mk.50 or Mk.54 light air-launched
AGM-119B Penguin anti-ship missiles or four
/ United Kingdom)
AgustaWestland AW101 was jointly developed by British and Italian
companies. Previously it was known as
However later Agusta and Westland Helicopters merged and formed AgustaWestland.
helicopter was designed to replace the
Sea King and made its first flight in 1987. It is in service
with a number of countries. Some countries use the name Merlin for this
The AW101 is
a modern naval helicopter. It is fitted with dipping sonar and
sonobuoys. However systems and equipment vary from customer to
customer. It has the power and performance for autonomous
anti-submarine warfare missions.
also an utility version of this helicopter.
(France / Germany / Italy / Netherlands)
NH90 is an international project. It was jointly developed by
France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands. It was developed as a
NATO Helicopter for the 90s, hence its name. A large number of these
helicopters have already been built.
helicopter was developed for autonomous anti-submarine warfare and
anti-ship roles. Its advanced mission suite includes a 360°
search radar, dipping sonar, forward-looking infra-red, magnetic
anomaly detector, and electronic surveillance measures. The NH90 is
capable of all-weather day and night operations even during high sea
also an NH90 Tactical Transport Helicopter (TTH) version for assault
transport and utility roles.
The Z-18F is
a specialized anti-submarine version of the Chinese Z-18
helicopter. Chinese call this helicopter the Sea Eagle. It was
developed by Changhe Aircraft Industry Group (CAIG). The Z-18 is
already in service with Chinese military and it seems that it is
being produced in large numbers. It will gradually replace older
helicopter is equipped with surface search radar, dipping sonar,
sonobuoys and FLIR turret. It can carry up to 4 lightweight
torpedoes or missiles.
that this helicopter is fitted with a datalink and can target cruise
missiles from frigates and destroyer escorts on its targets.
AW159 Wildcat (United Kingdom)
AgustaWestland AW159 is a modern naval helicopter. It was developed
to replace the successful
Westland Lynx. Even though it looks similar to the Westland
Lynx, it has significant design differences. 95% of the components
are new and only 5% are interchangeable with the latest versions of
the Lynx. In 2014 it has been adopted by the Royal Navy as the
Wildcat. Also it was selected by the South Korean Navy and actually
won competition against the American
The AW159 is
small helicopter, but is carries modern sensors, including an active
dipping sonar. It can carry two Sting Ray torpedoes or depth
charges. Alternatively it can be armed with four Thales Martlet
lightweight multi-role air-to-surface missiles or four Sea Venom lightweight anti-ship
missiles. These weapons are effective against small boats and fast
attack craft. Both of these missiles can target ships and land
also a transport and light attack version of this helicopter for the
army. Both navy and army versions have common airframe.
Ka-27 helicopter was developed for the Soviet Navy. It was adopted
in 1982. The first production variant was the Ka-27PL. known in the
west as Helix-A. Its export version is the Ka-28. Currently it is in
service with various countries.
retains Kamov's well-proven contra-rotating co-axial rotor
configuration. This helicopter has no tail rotor, what allows to
reduce footprint on ships. This anti-submarine warfare helicopter is
extremely stable and easy to fly, and automatic height hold,
automatic transition to and from the hover and autohover are
possible in all weather conditions.
has all the usual ASW
and ESM equipment including dipping sonar and sonobuoys as well as
is a recent version that is being tested and evaluated by the
Russian Navy. It has got new radar and some other improvements.
Sea King (United Kingdom)
Sea King is a license produced version of the Sikorsky S-61 known in
the US Navy as the
SH-3 Sea King. Westland Helicopters acquired rights to produce
this helicopter in the United Kingdom. However it was fitted with
British avionics and carried different ASW equipment than its
American counterpart. This helicopter has been exported to a number
of countries. Royal Navy
has retired its fleet of Sea King ASW helicopters. It has been
replaced by a modern
AgustaWestland AW101, also known as the Merlin. However various
anti-submarine warfare versions of the Westland Sea King are still
operational around the world.
helicopter has a watertight boat-like hull. It has pontoons with
floating bags, that give the Sea King a capability to land on water.
The Westland Sea King
has a crew of 2 to 4, depending on the mission.
Sea King can carry four Mk.44, Mk.46 or Stingray torpedoes, or four
depth charges. Export versions can carry Sea Eagle or
missiles for anti-shipping duties.
helicopter has a moveable tail section. For storage below carrier
decks the tail and the main rotor blades are folded.
SH-3 Sea King (USA)
The S-61 was
developed by Sikorsky in the late 1950s primarily for the
carrier-based anti-submarine warfare (ASW) role. It made its first
flight in 1959. It was adopted by the US Navy as the SH-3 Sea King.
It has been retired from the US Navy. However various
versions of this anti-submarine warfare helicopter are in service
with a number of countries around the world.
The Sea King
It was the world's first amphibious helicopter. The helicopter has a
watertight boat-like hull. It has pontoons with floating bags, that
give the Sea King a capability to land on water.
The Sea King
has a dipping sonar and sonobuoys for submarine detection. This ASW
helicopter had a capability to carry a nuclear depth charge. Some of
this later versions, such as SH-3H carried two Mk 46/44
SH-2G Super Seasprite (USA)
SH-2G Super Seasprite is a modernized and upgraded version of the
SH-2 Seasprite. This helicopter is no longer used by the US
Navy. However it is still actively used by Egypt, New Zealand and Poland.
Seasprite is a ship-based long-range anti-submarine helicopter.
Secondary missions are search & rescue, anti-shipping, liaison and
utility operations. It is also used for surveillance and
over-the-horizon targeting. The Super Seasprite can operate from
coast guard cutters, offshore patrol vessels, such as corvettes,
frigates, and other larger ships with a landing deck.
helicopter has a low frequency dipping sonar, onboard radar,
front-mounted FLIR system, aquatic data processor.
helicopter can be fitted with various armament. It can carry a
variety of ordnance, such as
anti-ship missiles, AGM-65 Maverick air-to-surface missiles and Mk.50 torpedoes. The
helicopter has provision for two machine guns.
naval anti-submarine warfare helicopter is a further development of
the Harbin Z-9. The Z-9EC version was produced
for the Pakistan Naval Air Arm. It is equipped with
pulse-compression radar, low frequency dipping sonar, and other
systems. The Z-9EC is armed with lightweight torpedoes. It is used aboard
Pakistan Navy's F-22P Zulfiquar class frigates.