The French defence procurement agency Direction générale de l’armement (DGA) has awarded a new contract to Thales to conduct a series of studies and technological developments for advanced sonar systems.
Once completed, the sonar systems will be integrated on-board the French Navy’s future third-generation, nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine (SSBN), the SNLE 3G.
The 42-month study and development contract takes into consideration the need for a technologically advanced underwater defence capability, which was originally highlighted as part of France’s strategic review of defence and national security last year.
The research will include the final validation of the fourth-generation flank arrays, as well as the development of a new sonar interceptor featuring latest and advanced adaptive antenna processing and threat classification algorithm.
A new bow-mounted antenna concept is also expected to be developed as part of the initiative.
The latest award follows a previous contract that was announced in 2016 for the development of the ALRO towed linear array, which was based on optical technology.
In addition, the deal is expected to help boost the company’s involvement in major French naval defence programmes such as the SNLE 2G second-generation nuclear-powered SSBN, the Rubis and Barracuda class nuclear-powered attack submarines (SNA) and the FREMM multi-mission frigates.
It is also expected to bolster Thales’ standing in the ATL2 maritime patrol aircraft upgrade and the SLAM-F mine countermeasures programme.
The contract is intended to support France’s naval defence technological and industrial base via Thales and its programme partners.