Thales welcomes launch of latest Astute-class submarine

Thales UK is proud to support the official launch of the second Astute-class submarine, HMS Ambush, at the BAE Systems shipyard at Barrow-in-Furness on 16 December.

Ambush, a 7,400 tonne nuclear powered attack submarine (SSN), was today unveiled and officially named at the Cumbrian-based shipyard, a significant milestone for the Astute-class programme.

Lady Anne Soar, Ambush’s sponsor and wife of the Royal Navy’s (RN’s) Commander-in-Chief Fleet, Admiral Sir Trevor Soar, performed the ceremony, which was watched by invited guests from the RN, Ministry of Defence (MoD), industry and the Barrow community.

The first submarine, HMS Astute, was officially commissioned into the RN in August 2010. The Astute-class boats are the UK’s biggest SSNs, and one of the most capable military assets in the RN.

The Astute-class platform is fitted with a significant number of Thales sensors and systems, including Sonar 2076, the world's most advanced, fully integrated, passive/active search and attack submarine sonar suite.

The boat is also fitted with two Thales non-hull penetrating CM010 optronic masts, which together with Sonar 2076, effectively provide the submarine with its ‘eyes and ears’.

The optronic mast replaces conventional hull-penetrating optical periscope systems with a non-hull penetrating, electronic imaging system and uses an electronic link from high-resolution cameras in the sensor head to present the surface picture on console screens in the submarine’s operations centre.

Submarine Solutions acknowledges the importance of establishing excellent working relationships with key suppliers... 

Thales also supplies the UAP4 electronic support measures (ESM) system, which has two multi-function antenna arrays mounted on the masts. These are designed to monitor the electronic environment around the submarine, to provide situational awareness of other platforms equipped with radar systems operating in the area.

Other Thales equipment includes the ECB680 communications and SEEPIRB emergency beacon buoys and an Ultra High frequency (UHF) satellite communications antenna.

As prime contractor, BAE Systems is building a total of seven Astute-class submarines. Thales is contracted to supply Sonar 2076 and other equipment for the first four boats – Astute, Ambush, Artful and Audacious.

Alex Dorrian, Thales UK Chief Executive Officer, says: “This is another significant milestone in the Astute-class submarine programme. Across a number of our facilities around the country we have collectively provided a sophisticated set of sensor systems that provide the ‘eyes and ears’ of the submarine, giving it an unmatched war-fighting capability.”

“This latest success builds on Thales UK’s relationship with BAE Systems Submarine Solutions and the MoD, and we look forward to further co-operation as the programme continues to progress.”

BAE Systems Submarine Solutions Supply Chain Director Malcolm Dare, says: “Submarine Solutions acknowledges the importance of establishing excellent working relationships with key suppliers. The one established with Thales UK during the first-of-class programme, HMS Astute, has continued to strengthen throughout the build of HMS Ambush.”

“The Thales UK team has made a significant contribution to the activities leading to the launch of HMS Ambush, and the successful integration of the submarine’s primary sonar and key above water systems.”

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About Thales and Thales UK
Thales is a global technology leader for the defence & security and the aerospace & transport markets. In 2009 the company generated revenues of £11.5 billion (€12.9 billion), with 68,000 employees in 50 countries. With its 22,500 engineers and researchers Thales has a unique capability to design, develop and deploy equip¬ment, systems and services that meet the most complex security requirements. Thales has an exceptional international footprint, with operations around the world working with customers as local partners.

Thales UK employs 8,500 staff based at 40 locations. In 2009 Thales UK's revenues were around £1.5 billion.

Press contacts:
Thales UK
Kathryn Bell
Mob: +44 7813 903274

Thales UK, Naval
Adrian Rondel
Mob: +44 7971 414052


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Adrian Rondel
+44 7971 414052