Type 23

Thales has been selected by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) to conduct a mid-life update to the external communications voice distribution and management system (called KMY) for the Royal Navy‘s Type 23 Duke-class frigate fleet.

Under the contract valued at $19m, Thales will replace the existing analogue KMY communications system with a fully digital solution, the KMY replacement system (KRS).

Thales Radio Communications Products vice-president Hervé Derrey said: "The Thales Team has successfully developed an innovative and competitive solution, including unique approaches to integrating the system into the legacy platforms with minimal impact, always a key requirement of the customer."

"The Thales Team has successfully developed an innovative and competitive solution."

The introduction of the KRS constitutes Phase I of the fleet-wide ‘Project Calliope’, which aims to upgrade a majority of terrestrial communications systems across the Royal Navy surface fleet, as well as the Royal Fleet Auxiliary platforms.

The system upgrade through Phase I of Project Calliope is believed to reduce the necessity to train and support, hence paving the way for operational effectiveness and competitive long-term support.

UK MoD Defence Equipment & Support Maritime Combat Systems Communications and Situational Awareness team leader Carolyn Bellars said: "Their design offers a compelling solution providing value for money through life."

Work on the Type 23 fleet is scheduled to begin in 2017 and the contract is supplemented with five years of support service based on availability.

Manufactured by Yarrow Shipbuilders and Swan Hunter, the Type 23 frigates were originally designed for anti-submarine warfare, but have proven their versatility in warfighting, peace-keeping and maritime security missions worldwide.

Thales has been chosen by 40 other naval forces to outfit their platforms with internal or external communications systems.

Earlier this week, the company was chosen as the prime contractor by the Estonian Ministry of Defence to overhaul the navy’s three Sandown-class single-role minehunters.

Image: Thales chosen to upgrade network communication on UK Navy’s Type 23 frigates. Photo: courtesy of Crown Copyright / Thales Group.