Thales eyes Tasmania for sonar testing facility site

Thales Australia is looking to make Tasmania the home of a trials and test facility for submarine and surface ship sonar systems.

Thales Australia, the University of Tasmania, Australian Maritime College and AMOG Consulting signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on July 17 to investigate the establishment of the facility, according to a statement by the Australian defense industry minister Christopher Pyne.

As informed, the potential locations for the facility are located in the federal seat of Braddon.

Christopher Pyne said the initiative further demonstrates the Turnbull government’s investment in shipbuilding capability.

“Sonar systems are the eyes and ears of our submarines and ships and are key to giving them the edge they need. The Collins class sonar upgrade program is boosting defence industry confidence around Australia,” Minister Pyne commented.

Thales Australia advises the use of Tasmania’s deep, cold and acoustically quiet lakes for the proposed acoustic testing capability could enable sonar systems, including those currently delivered by Thales, to be tested to new levels of accuracy.

Australian branches of Thales and Raytheon will be in charge of the A$542 million project to upgrade the fleet of six Royal Australian Navy Collins-class submarines. The upgrades are expected to start this year and the first to be upgraded will be HMAS Waller.

Photo: Photo: Twitter/CPyne