Fast Facts

  • Barra is a system comprising an expendable sonobuoy and an aircraft system. The sonobuoy listens for sounds emitted by a submarine and transmits them to the aircraft where they are processed and displayed.
  • It was invented by DSTO. Australia developed the sonobuoy and the UK the airborne processor.
  • Barra has been in service for over 30 years and is still used by the Royal Australian Air Force and the (UK) Royal Air Force.
  • More than 30,000 sonobuoys have been manufactured.
  • The project has contributed the national economy and to employment: the total value of contracts is estimated at $500M (allowing for inflation to 2010).
  • Research and development is continuing into other variants of directional sonobuoy systems, made active using underwater sound sources.


  • Australian Constructors Association
  • Cochlear
  • Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO)
  • Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO)
  • Leighton Holdings Limited
  • Resmed
  • Thales
  • ARUP
  • KBR