Navies across the world are having to adapt to an ever-changing maritime environment, and to face up to threats that are constantly evolving. Within these new operational scenarios, vessels need to be able to defend both themselves and other platforms within a naval task group.
Navy ships, today, are far more than simple sea-going craft – they are veritable communication hubs, connected to multiple sources: headquarters, coalition partners, other armed forces and civil authorities, as well as to other traffic at sea, on land, in the air and in space. These connections compel navies to rely heavily on the availability and reliability of data, meaning that robust cybersecurity had now become just as important as the weapons on the foredeck.
Meeting these needs requires a trusted partner with a proven track record, and that is what the German Navy’s MKS 180 programme found in Thales.
The MKS 180 is a resilient, multi-purpose ship designed for long periods at sea, fulfilling a broad range of low-, medium- and high-intensity missions: monitoring maritime areas, reinforcing sea rescue teams and humanitarian aid efforts or supporting special forces in crisis zones. This adaptability places high demands on the ship’s mission systems in terms of performance, availability, maintainability and ease of use.
A technology leader
Thales’s Tacticos Combat Management System is already operational throughout the German fleet, and was a prerequisite in order to counter present and future threats. The company’s AWW (Above Water Warfare) system – currently under contract for the Dutch and Belgian navies – is also on board the vessel; its new APAR Bl2 radar and intelligent software provide a continuous, optimal response to multiple, complex threat scenarios.
In addition, in light of the ship’s broad deployment capabilities, it will be equipped with a wide variety of weapons and other effectors, such as the next-generation Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile, surface-to-surface missiles and a 127mm gun, as well as the RAM (rolling airframe missile) self-defence system and electronic warfare support measures.
As Thales Chairman and CEO Patrice Caine says, the signing of the MKS 180 contract is proof that Thales continues to be a technology leader in the maritime domain: “This huge contract anchors our position as global leader in high-end naval systems integration. The German Navy will benefit from cutting-edge technological systems thanks to the diversity of talents at Thales.”
The MKS 180 programme reflects the trust that nations have in Thales to develop and deploy high-end naval cybersecurity solutions that are capable of responding not only to the threats of today, but also to those that their navies will face in the years to come.