PARIS — Thales has won a research and development contract to explore sonar technology and a bow-mounted antenna for France’s next-generation nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine, the company said.
“The French defense procurement agency (DGA) has awarded Thales a 42-month contract to conduct a set of studies and technological developments for a sonar system to be equipped on France’s future third-generation nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine (SNLE 3G),” the company said in a Feb. 7 statement.
The DGA awarded the contract on Dec. 20, which was worth tens of millions of euros, a Thales spokeswoman said. The work included studies for a bow-mounted antenna, which would be the first time a sonar would be mounted at the submarine bow.
The work includes a validation of fourth-generation flank arrays, development of a new sonar interceptor, new adaptive antenna processing and algorithms to classify threats, the company said. The contract follows work awarded in 2016 on a towed linear array based on optical technology.
The draft 2019-2025 military budget law, announced Feb. 8, earmarked €25 billion (U.S. $31 billion) for studies on the next-gen submarine as well as airborne nuclear missiles.
The French Navy sails the four-strong fleet of ocean-going Triomphant-class nuclear submarines, armed with the M51.2 ballistic nuclear missile.