Thales and Naval Group Collaborate on Advanced Sonar System for Autonomous Underwater Vehicles

Thales and Naval Group Collaborate on Advanced Sonar System for Autonomous Underwater Vehicles

(IN BRIEF) Thales and Naval Group have joined forces to test an innovative passive omnidirectional hull-mounted sonar system aimed at enhancing the safety and autonomy of extra-large unmanned underwater vehicles (XL-UUVs). This collaborative effort, under the French defense procurement agency’s (DGA) Unmanned Combat Underwater Vehicle (UCUV) program, will integrate sophisticated sonar technology into the Démonstrateur Drone Océanique (DDO) demonstrator. The sonar system, comprising a cylindrical panoramic array and advanced software, promises to provide detailed surface environment imaging crucial for safe ascent and operational effectiveness in underwater warfare scenarios.

(PRESS RELEASE) LA DÉFENSE, 9-Jul-2024 — /EuropaWire/ — Thales’ passive omnidirectional hull-mounted sonar has been recognized as a pivotal technology for ensuring the safe and autonomous navigation of extra-large unmanned underwater vehicles (XL-UUVs). This advanced sonar system is designed to enhance navigation safety by offering a detailed view of the surface environment during ascent operations.

In a significant development, Thales has secured a contract with Naval Group to test this innovative passive hull-mounted sonar as part of the Unmanned Combat Underwater Vehicle (UCUV) program. This initiative, overseen by the French defense procurement agency (DGA), aims to develop and evaluate an ocean drone demonstrator known as the Démonstrateur Drone Océanique (DDO).

The sonar system to be tested includes a cylindrical panoramic array and an internal unit equipped with sophisticated operating software. This combination is expected to deliver precise and comprehensive surface environment imaging, ensuring the autonomous vehicle’s safe ascent and surfacing. Thales will collaborate closely with Naval Group to integrate this sonar solution into the DDO.

This project is set to provide the French Ministry of the Armed Forces with cutting-edge underwater technology, crucial for maintaining undersea superiority in operational theaters. The new technologies and tactical capabilities developed through this initiative are anticipated to offer an effective response to contemporary underwater warfare challenges and evolving naval combat scenarios.

Marc Delorme, Thales’ lead for the UCUV project, emphasized the sonar’s significance: “The passive omnidirectional hull-mounted sonar developed by Thales is a key component of the unmanned underwater vehicle’s acoustic detection system. Its autonomous detection, classification, and location capabilities will rely on high-performance signal processing, data analytics, and artificial intelligence functionalities.”

Overall, the collaboration between Thales and Naval Group is poised to advance the capabilities of unmanned underwater vehicles, setting a new standard for autonomous maritime operations.

Media Contacts:

Camille Heck
Thales, Media Relations Land & Naval Defence
+33 (0)6 73 78 33 63

Alice Pruvot
Head of Media Relations, Aeronautics & Defense
+33 7 70 27 11 37

SOURCE: Thales


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