Thales UK is to upgrade the UK Royal Navy’s (RN’s) seven Sandown-class minehunters with an improved version of its Sonar 2093 variable depth minehunting sonar.
Known as the Sonar 2093 Capability Sustainment Programme (CSP), the project will see Thales embody a wideband upgrade to enhance system performance against low-signature mines. A first ship fit is planned to complete in 2018, with the full programme to be delivered in 60 months.
Sonar 2093 is a multifrequency variable depth sonar system capable of search and classification operations in both deep and shallow waters down to depths of about 200m. Under the Sonar 2093 CSP contract, valued at £33.5 million, Thales UK is taking responsibility for the design, manufacture and fitting of an equipment modification to introduce wideband technology into Sonar 2093.
Evolving technology already embodied into the Sonar 2193 hull-mounted sonar fitted to RN Hunt-class mine countermeasures vessels, the introduction of wideband pulse compression technology allows for long-range detection and classification of low target echo strength mines by optimising performance against reverberation and noise simultaneously. Wideband transducer arrays also allow maximum performance from the use of the highest bandwidth-time product available.
The CSP modification changes out the transducer arrays in the towed body for wideband-capable transducers, and introduces fibre-optic telemetry into the tow cable for data transfer. Other changes include a new processing platform, new operator consoles, and an upgraded human computer interface.
As well as fitting the modified Sonar 2093 sonar set to the seven RN Sandown-class vessels, Thales UK will deliver new shore-based maintainer and operator training systems.
The company will also be responsible for ensuring that the delivered system can be subsumed into its existing Sonar 2093 through-life support contract following acceptance.
Outside of the UK, Sonar 2093 is also in service or on order for the navies of Australia, Estonia, Italy, Japan, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Turkey. Thales is now offering the wideband Sonar 2093 as new-build, or as an upgrade implementation for existing Sonar 2093 systems.