skip to main content

Euronaval 2022: SonoFlash prepares for qualification trials

SonoFlash is on track to be fully qualified in 2024. (Thales)

The development of Thales' SonoFlash combined active/passive A-size sonobuoy is nearing completion as the system gears up for qualification trials in the coming months.

Speaking to media during a pre-Euronaval 2022 briefing on 11 October, Rozenn Thierry, head of Thales' SonoFlash programme, said the sonobuoy was on track to start qualification trials with France's Direction générale de l'armement (DGA) in 2023, with a view to delivering the first production units to the French Navy in 2024.

The qualification phase will follow the successful completion of developmental testing in 2022.

Following feasibility studies launched in 2016, Thales was awarded a contract by the DGA in December 2020 for the full development, qualification, and production of SonoFlash.

SonoFlash is a new-generation acoustic buoy that has been developed to meet the French Navy's anti-submarine warfare (ASW) requirements. In addition, as part of the country's wider efforts to re-establish its sovereign industrial capabilities, the programme intends to establish a new network of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to support local sonobuoy production.

In contrast to the current sonobuoys on the market, which are either active or passive, SonoFlash offers both modes by combining a high-powered transmitter with a passive low-frequency receiver into one acoustic buoy. This dual use is intended to reduce the number of assets required in a multistatic field. It can be launched by helicopters or maritime patrol aircraft (MPA), but is also compact enough to be deployed via unmanned systems, such as autonomous surface vehicles and rotary-wing or fixed-wing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) equipped with a compatible pod.

Looking to read the full article?

Gain unlimited access to Janes news and more...