Thales has been awarded a £330 million contract to equip the Royal Navy Continuous at Sea Deterrent (CASD) submarines with the latest “Sonar 2076” system and Combat System Mast, Thales announced on 28th February. Sonar 2076 is the world’s most advanced sonar suite and is currently in service with the Navy’s Trafalgar and Astute Class submarines. The Combat System Mast combines world class visuals, electronic warfare and communications.
“Thales is immensely proud of our contribution to the Continuous at- Sea Deterrent over the last 50 years. This announcement represents a £330M investment in world class sonar and optronics systems providing the battle winning edge for the Royal Navy. Having supported the deterrent since its inception, and with over a century of supplying periscopes to the Royal Navy, I am proud that our engineers continue to deliver cutting edge innovative technology at sites across the UK” said Victor Chavez, Chief Executive of Thales UK after completion of agreement.
“I am delighted to continue our 50-year strong partnership with Thales. These next-generation sonars and sensors will ensure our nuclear deterrent retains a stealth and detection advantage over adversaries. With over 500 jobs created or secured by this contract, we are clearly acting on the government’s commitment to level-up across the UK.” Defence Minister of UK Jeremy Quin added.
A total of 520 jobs in the UK at Thales are secured or created by the announcement (350 secured and 170 created) – mainly in the highly-skilled manufacturing, engineering and design sectors.
Moreover, an updated version of the digital periscopes – now renamed Combat System Masts – which are used by Astute class of hunter-killer submarines, have been ordered.
The Dreadnought class subs will be equipped with second-generation optronic periscopes, combining electronic warfare technology with cameras.
The scopes will be fitted with many of the same features (night vision, the ability to record hi-resolution imagery) but inside a smaller, less obtrusive mast to make it even harder to locate the boat.
The sonar system will be developed at Thales’ sites in Templecombe, Somerset, and Stockport.
Work on first two submarines (Dreadnough and Vailiant) is well underway with the former due to take over from the first Vanguard-class submarine to retire in the early 2030s.