For centuries, navies have been waging a deadly seaborne game of cat and mouse, with bigger or faster ships chasing slower ones.
Today, technology is turning the tables - even small ships with miniaturized and high-precision arms, including drones and hyper-velocity missiles, can bring down the giants of the seas. And they are all prey for that agile and dangerous “creature” lurking below - the submarine – which itself is a target for other submarines.
Listening under water through sonar continues to be the best means of defence but busier sea lanes are creating audio clutter, while some of your opponents have become so silent they can hardly be detected. The growing number of vessels and navies and expanding theatres of operations add to the challenge.
The solution is to increase the size of sonar “ears” or antennas, packing them with more sophisticated sensors that can capture more data. “ALICIA” is the “brains” to using that data - the capacity to Analyse, Localise, Identify, Classify, Integrate, and Alert.
It’s part of the Digital Transformation that Thales is spearheading, creating both state-of-the-art hardware and the software to use it most effectively, including artificial intelligence.
“Detection is only part of the problem, which we are solving with our suite of fourth generation sonars. We also need to quickly crunch the data to make the right decision at the decisive moment. Our solutions provide submarines the situational awareness to classify all types of threats at all ranges across a broad spectrum of frequencies,” says Marc Delorme, a former submarine commander and now Director of Thales’ product line of submarine sonars.
Thales has been doing this for over fifty years, designing ever more sensitive hydrophone sensors and combining them with modular antennas. By 2030 their number for submarine sonars will be multiplied by ten and their density by four. With the “ears” growing and AI augmenting the “brains”, Thales can save lives.