Thales has signed a five-year contract with the U.K.’s Ministry of Defence to provide support for the Sonar 2050 antisubmarine sensor used on the Royal Navy’s Type 23 frigate fleet.
Sonar 2050 is a medium-range bow sonar currently fitted to 13 Type 23 frigates and is the Royal Navy’s primary hull-mounted antisubmarine warfare sensor. It also provides the ship with passive detection capabilities at lower frequencies.
Under the contract, Thales will provide physical support of Sonar 2050 for operational defect rectifications, a worldwide 24/7 helpdesk support service, drydock and afloat support, and test equipment and handling. Thales was awarded the contract in a competitive process by offering a value for money, low-risk support solution, providing innovative solutions that can reduce support costs and improve the availability of the equipment.
Eight Type 23s are also fitted with the Thales Sonar 2087 towed array system in the stern, which enables warships to hunt submarines at considerable distances and locate them beyond the range from which they can launch an attack. The combination of these two sensors with an embarked Merlin helicopter fitted with Thales FLASH dipping sonar (Sonar 2089) makes the Type 23 what the Royal Navy describes as the “most potent anti-submarine warfare platform of any navy at sea today”.
Ed Lowe, head of Thales U.K.’s naval business, said, “We welcome the award of this competitively-placed contract which means Thales has the sole responsibility for the upkeep and support of the complete Sonar 2050 system. We are the key sonar provider to the Royal Navy’s frigate fleet and we are investing heavily in research and development to ensure our sensors are ready to meet the demands of any future requirements.”