Sandown class

Thales has been selected as the prime contractor by the Estonian Ministry of Defence to overhaul the navy’s three Sandown-class single-role minehunters.

Under the contract, Thales will assume the responsibility to upgrade the vessel’s design equipment / system specification and procurement, platform and system integration, shipyard management, as well as conducting test, trial and acceptance events.

Thales will also supply the ships’ mission package, with expected delivery with full operational capability to take place in 2019.

"The current upgrade programme provides the navy with the opportunity to extend its conventional NMCM capability."

Work on the contract will commence from the company’s facilities in Cheadle and Templecombe, supported by Babcock Marine Systems in Rosyth.

Estonian Navy commander captain Sepper said: "Background activities to upgrade the Naval Mine Counter Measure (NMCM) capability of the Sandown class commenced during the initial procurement phase of the vessels. I am delighted to see that we are now moving on to the execution phase.

"The current upgrade programme provides the navy with the opportunity to extend its conventional NMCM capability, based on proven technological solutions and tactics into the next decade.

"This upgrade programme also provides a valuable and much needed extended timeframe to analyse the future capability requirements and readiness of possible technological solutions that would eventually replace the legacy systems."

The upgraded mission package will involve incorporating new features into the vessel, including new navigation systems, the Sonar 2193 wideband hull mounted sonar, the M-CUBE command and control system (C2) and a fleet mine warfare data centre.

The system upgrade is said to build on Thales’s naval architecture and engineering concept, which was previously applied on-board the UK Royal Navy’s Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carrier and the Lithuania Hunt Regeneration contract.

Earlier this month, Thales was contracted by the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and in Source Support (BAAINBw) to upgrade the German Navy’s tactical and procedural trainer (TVTM) at the naval training centre (MOS) in Bremerhaven.

Image: Thales selected to upgrade the Estonian Navy’s Sandown-class minehunters. Photo: courtesy of Thales Group.