Almirante Padilla class frigate

The Colombian Navy’s fourth Almirante Padilla-class vessel has successfully completed a Thales and DCNS sea acceptance test as part of its comprehensive modernisation programme.

In early 2009, Colombian authorities signed a contract with DCNS acting as prime contractor and Thales as the lead systems integrator for the combat system and communications suite.

As part of the upgrade programme, the four Almirante Padilla-class vessels have been equipped with SMART-S Mk2 surveillance radar, a STING EO Mk2 electro-optic weapon control system, a MIRADOR optronic weapon control system, a VIGILE 200S electronic support measures (ESM) system, communications systems and Terma’s SKWS decoys launching system.

Thales Colombia country director Aniss Aqallal said that modernising existing platforms considerably extends the lifecycle of ships and significantly enhances their capabilities.

"This programme demonstrates that Thales is perfectly capable of realising a large modernisation programme within an agreed timeframe and according to the customer’s requirements," Aqallal added.

"Our success in the Padilla programme highlights our strong commitment to Colombia’s defence strategy, as was underlined by the Minister of Defence Juan Carlos Pinzón during his speech at the final site acceptance test ceremony."

Thales additionally upgraded Altesse communications intelligence (COMINT) systems for the vessels.

DCNS Surface Naval Systems senior vice president Pierre Legros said: "DCNS draws on both the expertise of Cotecmar shipyard, which was selected by the Colombian Navy, and those of its partners, first and foremost Thales, while respecting the government-to-government agreement signed between France and Colombia."

Image: Illustration of Almirante Padilla-class vessel. Photo: courtesy of Thales Group.

Defence Technology