Thales has received a contract from the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) to provide a replacement for the V/UHF communications systems across the Royal Navy fleet.

The £23m contract was signed with the MoD’s procurement organisation, Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S).

The contract includes design, manufacture, installation and in-service support of the V/UHF communications replacements (VCR). In addition, the contract will cover the procurement of around 300 Rohde & Schwarz radios.

Radios will be installed on 39 ships, including Type 23 frigates, survey and ice patrol vessels, minehunters and the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) supply ships.

Thales will repackage and supply the V/UHF system it provided for the Queen Elizabeth-class (QEC) aircraft carrier.

The new VCR solution also builds on the successful implementation of the update programme for the Type 23 frigate fleet external communications voice distribution and management system (Calliope Phase 1).

“The first radio is due to be installed on a Type 23 frigate in 2020.”

Thales secure communications and information systems vice-president Gareth Williams said: “We successfully developed a competitive approach to the open competition and we are pleased to be implementing our solution for the Royal Navy, while assuring that Thales deliver the new systems and communications capability without impacting the platforms’ schedule and operational availability.”

According to DE&S, the first radio is due to be installed on a Type 23 frigate in 2020.

Delivery and installation of the remaining radios are expected to be complete by the end of 2023.

The company is the main supplier of communications systems for the Royal Navy. It provides internal and external communications systems support for fleet-wide communications, including long-term support for the QEC carriers and Type 45 destroyers.

Thales intends to enhance the convergence of communications systems across platforms and reduce the training and support burden.