One of the Royal Navy’s (RN’s) most advanced Type 23 frigates has re-entered operational service, fitted with Thales’s Sonar 2087 system, following a period of intensive sea trials.
HMS Sutherland has been declared fit for operational service after trials of its major sonar and defensive systems, and now becomes the sixth Type 23 frigate to be upgraded with the Sonar 2087 system.
In November 2008 the Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced that HMS Sutherland had left Rosyth dockland for the trials after a multi-million pound refit that included major upgrades to its sonar, Sea Wolf missile defence and gun systems.
The MoD has said the installation of Sonar 2087 will improve the frigate’s submarine-hunting ability. This type of frigate can also carry the Merlin helicopter fitted with Thales UK’s FLASH dipping sonar. The combination of 2087 and FLASH makes the Type 23 a formidable anti-submarine warfare (ASW) platform.
Sonar 2087 is a towed array system that enables Type 23 frigates to hunt the latest submarines at considerable distances and locate them beyond the range at which they can launch an attack.
The system is a low-frequency active sonar, consisting of both active and passive sonar arrays. The system is manufactured at Thales sites in the UK (Cheadle Heath in Manchester and Templecombe in Somerset) and France (Brest).
Mike Waldron, Group lead for Sonar systems at the MoD’s Defence Equipment & Support facility, says: “Recent operational deployments using Sonar 2087 against actual ‘threat platforms’ has shown this to be a very capable ASW system, giving these platforms a significant capability enhancement.
“HMS Sutherland now enters the in-service reliability phase alongside the other five Sonar 2087-fitted platforms so that the MoD and Thales can fully test and assess the system performance.”
Thales is a global technology leader for the Aerospace and Space, Defence, Security and Transportation markets. In 2008, the company generated revenues of £10.2 billion (12.7 billion euros) with 68,000 employees in 50 countries. With its 25,000 engineers and researchers, Thales has a unique capability to design, develop and deploy equip¬ment, systems and services that meet the most complex security requirements. Thales has an exceptional international footprint, with operations around the world working with customers as local partners.
Thales UK employs 8,500 staff based at 40 locations. In 2008 Thales UK’s revenues were over £1.4 bn.