Astute-class submarine

BAE Systems has awarded a subcontract to Thales to provide Sonar 2076 fully-integrated search and attack submarine sonar system in support of the UK Royal Navy’s Astute-class nuclear-powered submarines programme.

Under the contract, Thales will develop and deliver the sonar system for installation on to the sixth and seventh Astute submarines, HMS Agamemnon (S124) and HMS Ajax (S125) respectively, at BAE’s shipyard in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, UK.

"These sonars ensure that these submarines can operate in the most challenging environments, against the most challenging threats."

The complete sonar system will include both inboard and outboard of the bow, fin, intercept and flank arrays and associated inboard processing for the submarines.

UK MoD Defence, Equipment and Support Organisation Submarines Combat Systems team leader captain Martyn Williams said that the advanced stealth technology enables the Astute-class boats to remain undetected and quieter than any of its predecessors.

"These sonars deliver world-beating capabilities that, together with the other sensors, ensure that these submarines can operate in the most challenging environments and against the most challenging of threats," Williams said.

In addition to Sonar 2076, Thales was contracted earlier to develop a significant number of sensors and systems, including two non-hull penetrating CM010 optronic masts, which combined with the sonar system serve as the ‘eyes and ears’ of the submarine.

Other Thales equipment to be equipped on the Astute-class submarines include the UAP4 electronic support measures (ESM) system, which has two multi-function antenna arrays mounted on the masts, to provide situational awareness.

Thales’ ECB680 communications and SEEPIRB emergency beacon buoys and an ultra-high frequency satellite communications antenna will also be installed on the submarines.

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) placed an order with BAE for construction of seven Astute-class vessels for the Royal Navy intended to replace the existing Swiftsure and Trafalgar-class submarines.

Image: The Royal Navy’s Astute-class submarine cruising undersea. Photo: file image.

Defence Technology