Thales to supply next-gen sonar suite for France’s SSBNs

Defence company Thales has been awarded a contract by the French defence procurement agency (DGA) to develop a new sonar suite for France’s new nuclear-powered ballistic-missile submarines (SSBNs).


As informed, the sonar suite will be designed for third-generation nuclear-powered ballistic-missile submarines (SNLE 3G) and the programme to modernise its second-generation submarines (SNLE 2G).

It will feature a range of disruptive technologies, with large arrays housing a multitude of high-performance sensors supported by powerful Big Data algorithms. The new sonar suite will provide a comprehensive picture of the underwater acoustic environment to thwart increasingly silent threats for decades to come.

The four SSBNs in the French Navy’s Strategic Oceanic Force (Force Océanique Stratégique, FOST) are deployed to provide a permanent nuclear deterrent.

The new sensors will generate significantly larger volumes of data than earlier systems. The ALICIA data processing system (Analyse, Localisation, Identification, Classification Intégrées et Alertes) will use advanced Big Data algorithms, with intuitive user interfaces to optimise operator workload and provide decision support, according to Thales.

The latest innovations developed by dedicated Thales engineers for the current and future generations of SSBNs will provide the French Navy with a comprehensive acoustic picture of the underwater environment to counter current and future threats, helping to consolidate its position as one of the world’s leading naval forces,” Gwendoline Blandin-Roger, Vice President, Underwater Systems, Thales.