Building on 50 years of experience in undersea warfare, Thales is now a global leader in underwater systems and the world’s top exporter of sonars and related systems for naval forces
Thales designs and delivers acoustic and communication systems and subsystems for anti-submarine warfare and anti-mine warfare. Our solutions and related services are suitable for all types of platforms: submarines, surface ships, helicopters, maritime patrol aircrafts and unmanned naval systems.
Today’s navies need a true collaboration between the forces, and a multi-sensor assessment of the overall underwater situation.
BlueScan addresses these needs through personalized and scalable systems integrating the most adapted combination of sonar sensors with an advanced soft acoustic layer. Thanks to artificial intelligence, it reinforces the collaborative anti-submarine warfare to strategically position the navies in the face of tomorrow’s complex challenges.
During the last 40 years, Low Frequency Variable Depth Sonars (VDS) have proven their operational superiority to cope with any environmental (i.e. bathythermal) condition to detect, locate and classify more and more stealthy and capable submarines. CAPTAS solutions have been precursors in this field and are today the undisputed leaders of the market. With more than 60 systems ordered or in service today, the CAPTAS products are praised by the leading ASW Navies in the world for their unique ASW performance and reliability that is key given the harsh operating conditions of this kind of systems.
Thales CAPTAS VDS family provides solutions that match each element of the Thales HMS family to constitute consistent and performant ASW.
With more than 150 Hull Mounted Sonars ordered or in service today, Thales products have demonstrated their capabilities and reliability at sea on many types of platforms as follows:
- BlueMaster (or 4110): for large ASW frigates such as French FREMM, Italian FREMM or Spanish F110.
- BlueHunter (or Kingklip Mk2): for ASW frigates and corvettes such as French FDI or Gowind corvettes.
- BlueWatcher: for any type of ASW ship, down to OPV’s. Already installed on French frigate Surcouf and much smaller ship for an Asian Navy.
Thales has developed the low frequency dipping sonar FLASH (Folding Light Acoustic System for Helicopters) with exceptional ASW performances and for any type of ASW helicopter. As a matter of fact, FLASH is already certified on the ASW versions of platforms such as MH60R, NFH90 “Caiman”, Super Puma, AW101 “Merlin”, AW159 or SL300. With more than 500 FLASH-based systems ordered or in service today, FLASH has demonstrated its unrivalled capabilities and reliability at sea in any environment, from shallow waters to deep seas. When used in conjunction with a Low Frequency CAPTAS VDS (Variable Depth Sonar), the FLASH/VDS combination constitutes a fearsome ASW system.
Leveraging state-of-the-art developments in sonobuoy processing performed for the UK Royal Navy and the French Navy in the framework of the “AW101 MERLIN CSP” and “ATLANTIQUE 2 STAN” projects respectively, Thales offers two variants of the Bluetracker Processing System (SPS) as follows:
- “BlueTracker MK1”: dedicated to multi-purpose aircraft, dimensioned to process up to 16 buoys simultaneously
- “BlueTracker MK2”: dedicated to aircraft specialized in ASW, dimensioned to process up to 64 buoys simultaneously, in particular SONOFLASH
Beyond the various types of sonobuoys that are available on the market, BlueTracker can process the new SONOFLASH Active/Passive Low Frequency sonobuoy developed by Thales. SONOFLASH features impressive detection capabilities that can be multiplied when used in multistatic mode with other collaborative buoys or with the FLASH dipping sonar.
This shift in operating conditions calls for modular acoustic systems with very high levels of performance in order to provide submarines with the capabilities they need to perform their missions effectively and safely. Thales developssonar suites based on open, interoperable architectures to accommodate future capability and minimise cost of ownership. These solutions incorporate high-performance acoustic sensors, integrated processing electronics and advanced user interfaces.
By combining subsystems such as bow-mounted sonar, flank array sonar, obstacle avoidance sonar, intercept sonar and passive towed-array sonar, Thales builds comprehensive, cohesive and integrated solutions that provide submarines with all-round situational awareness together with the ability to detect, locate and classify all types of threats at short, medium and long range across a broad spectrum of frequencies.
140 conventional and nuclear-powered submarines in service with 23 navies are equipped with Thales systems
50% of the accessible global market for submarine sonars is currently held by Thales
At the Thales’ facility in Glasgow we have over 100 years’ experience in design and manufacture of state-of-the-art periscopes and optronics masts for submarine platforms around the world. We are presently manufacturing our latest generation optronics mast – the Low Profile Variant (LPV). LPV is an evolution of our first-generation, sea proven design that has been fitted to over 30 platforms worldwide.
Navies around the world need to perform a variety of missions from Maritime Security Operations in territorial waters to Power Projection including interventions on external theaters of operations, and from coastal environments to the deep sea.
With more than 300 Mine Hunting sonar systems ordered or in service today, Thales Mine Countermeasures products are praised by the leading MCM Navies in the world for their unique performance and reliability. They consist of:
- Hull Mounted Sonars: TSM 2022 MK3 or S2193.
- Variable Depth Sonar: S2093.
- Towed Synthetic Aperture Sonar (SAS): TSAM that integrates the SAMDIS Multi-aspects SAS payload.
- MCM Control & Command system: M-CUBE.
- Image processing & display system: Mi-Map.
Thales proposes "turn-key MCMV regeneration solutions" in order to greatly extend the service life of the ships and to upgrade in a scalable manner its operational capabilities. Thales has already completed several such projects on hulls of various origins.
Unmanned Naval Systems
World leader in mine countermeasures (MCM) with over 300 minehunting systems in service worldwide, Thales is helping navies to master their journey into the future of mine countermeasures.
With Pathmaster, we personalize a scalable package offering transformational performance and optimum lifecycle costs, either for standoff, hybrid or fully unmanned solutions.
Committed to push the frontiers of unmanned MCM, Thales is investing strongly in areas like Big Data Analytics, AI and Connectivity in order to deliver the French and British navies’ groundbreaking MMCM system-of-systems, in partnership with ECA, L3Harris, Kongsberg and SAAB.
With our dedicated Maritime Autonomy Centre, we are creating tomorrow’s best of breed solutions with a growing ecosystem of marine-tech leaders.
Torpedoes homing heads
Thales supplies homing heads for lightweight torpedoes, particularly the MU90/IMPACT torpedo. Combining range, velocity, agility and lethality, these highly sophisticated NATO-compliant weapons have proven their effectiveness in all types of maritime theatres. They can be launched from helicopters, Maritime Patrol Aircraft as well as surface ships. The versatile guidance systems are a showcase of Thales expertise in miniaturised sonar and are designed to accommodate future technology insertion as required.
Over 1000 units already produced
The MU90 has been chosen by France, Italy, Germany, Denmark, Poland and Australia.
The FICS developed by Thales is an integrated communications system for surface vessels, submarines and ground centres, offering centralised communications management. It comprises a multi-level secure local IP network providing high-data-rate connections between local users and external communications equipment (modems, terminals, radio, satcom, ….) and a broad range of services (voice, data, intercom, conferencing, databases, video, …)
The NFI developed by Thales is a federated secure IP network, combining the whole present and future communications means (HF, V/UHF, Satcom, SHF, …) and providing onboard and “over the air” network resources for multi-media services between ships and with the shore such as E-mail, MHS, Databases, Images, visio conferences, Voice over IP, …
Identification and navigation systems
The Thales high power long range combined interrogator transponder (CIT) and interrogator systems are compliant with all relevant standards and can be delivered or easily upgraded to include National Secure Mode or the latest military standard Mode 5 which will very shortly become a critical requirement for participation in NATO coalition operations.
These rugged and reliable systems provide assured capability in the demanding environment of shipborne military operations.
Thales brings all this learning together in PathMaster, a complete approach designed to help customers cut through the complexity of unmanned mine warfare and explore the solutions that meet their future MCM needs and budgets.
With the launch of full-scale development of France's third generation of nuclear-powered ballistic-missile submarines (SNLE 3G), Thales is developing a new sonar suite based on disruptive technologies that represent a significant break from the systems in service today.
How Thales technology has recently seen the sixth in a series of eight minehunters upgraded to modern sonar, as part of a refurbishment programme spanning the last decade. Proving how Thales’s tailored and committed approach to naval services is helping maintain sonar mission readiness, as Italy’s Navy eyes its next generation of mine countermeasures capability.