This technical paper describes an innovative engineering solution for optimizing winch system characteristics. The subject winch is used to deploy and retrieve helicopter based dipping sonars. A microprocessor controlled system provided solutions for desired winch system characteristics and in addition performed system diagnostics. A Vickers “Intelligent Motor” ™ provided the torque and speed requirements without throttling losses associated with fixed displacement motors. The microprocessor based winch system takes advantage of digital technology to improve dynamic response, programmed sequencing, system health, accuracy and repeatability.