Following an extensive refit, HMS Portland has become the final Royal Navy Type 23 frigate to be fitted with Thales U.K.’s Sonar 2087, a towed array sonar system that enables warships to hunt submarines at considerable distances and locate them beyond the range from which they can launch an attack. Portland has now returned to service, with a rededication ceremony on March 21.
The 12-month multi-million pound refit in Rosyth Royal Dockyard of Portland’s sensors, weapons and systems completes a successful joint program between industry and the U.K.’s Ministry of Defense (MOD) to ensure the upgraded ships are now the most advanced of their kind in service.
The Royal Navy has described how the combination of a Type 23 frigate fitted with Thales’s Sonar 2087 and a Merlin helicopter equipped with the Thales FLASH dipping sonar makes the class the “most potent anti-submarine warfare platform of any navy at sea today”.
Eight of the Royal Navy’s fleet of Type 23 frigates have now been upgraded for use as submarine hunters. The other seven upgraded ships are Westminster, Northumberland, Richmond, Somerset, Sutherland, Kent and St. Albans.
Sonar 2087 is a low-frequency sonar with both active and passive sonar arrays. The system is manufactured at Thales sites in the U.K. (Cheadle Heath in Manchester and Templecombe in Somerset) and France (Brest).
Greg Pugh, Sensors Program Manager for the MOD’s Defense Equipment and Support headquarters, said, “The T23 frigates are at the heart of the Royal Navy’s frontline fleet, and are proving to be a formidable and highly-effective capability. The Sonar 2087 is a very capable ASW system, giving these platforms a significant capability enhancement.”
Ed Lowe, head of Thales U.K.’s naval business, said, “We welcome the news that HMS Portland has completed this upgrade. Fitted with Sonar 2087 and FLASH dipping sonar, the Type 23s represent a formidable anti-submarine warfare force. We are proud to be a key sensor supplier to the Royal Navy.”