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Thales to test passive hull-mounted sonar on Naval Group’s XL-UUV demonstrator

  • The passive omnidirectional hull-mounted sonar from Thales is a key technology building block for safe, autonomous navigation by an XL-UUV (extra-large unmanned underwater vehicle).
  • It will help to guarantee navigation safety, in particular by providing a comprehensive picture of the surface environment on ascent.
  • The Thales passive omnidirectional hull-mounted sonar will be tested on the ocean drone demonstrator (Démonstrateur Drone Océanique / DDO) developed by Naval Group for the Unmanned Combat Underwater Vehicle (UCUV) programme.
© Naval Group
© Naval Group

Thales has won a contract from Naval Group to test a passive hull-mounted sonar designed for autonomous operation. The contract is part of a project led by the French defence procurement agency (DGA) to develop an unmanned combat underwater vehicle demonstrator for testing purposes.

The passive omnidirectional hull-mounted sonar to be integrated into the demonstrator will comprise a cylindrical panoramic array and an internal unit housing the operating software. Together, the array and operating system will provide an accurate, detailed picture of the ocean surface environment to ensure that the underwater vehicle can ascend and surface safely. Thales will assist with integration of the sonar solution on the DDO.

The project will give the French Ministry of the Armed Forces access to the latest underwater systems technologies to gain and sustain undersea dominance in the theatre of operations. These new technologies and tactical capabilities are expected to deliver an effective operational response in the medium term to meet the needs of underwater warfare and new forms of naval combat. ​

“The passive omnidirectional hull-mounted sonar developed by Thales is a key component of the unmanned underwater vehicle's acoustic detection system. Its autonomous detection, classification and location capabilities will rely on high-performance signal processing, data analytics and artificial intelligence functionalities,” said Marc Delorme, Thales lead for the Unmanned Combat Underwater Vehicle (UCUV) project.


Camille Heck, Thales, Media Relations Land & Naval Defence
+33 (0)6 73 78 33 63
Alice Pruvot, Head of Media Relations, Aeronautics & Defense
+33 7 70 27 11 37