Monday, September 15, 2008

Thales awarded second phase of sonar support contract

Thales awarded second phase of sonar support contract

15 September 2008
Thales UK's naval business has today agreed terms, worth £134 million, for the second phase of its 10-year contract with the Ministry of Defence (MoD) for the in-service support of all Royal Navy (RN) major sonar systems.
The contract, awarded to Thales UK's underwater systems business in 2003, is aimed at delivering equipment availability for several of the major sonar systems in service with the Royal Navy.

These now include sonar 2054 fitted to the Vanguard-class submarines, sonar 2076 / 2074 fitted to the nuclear-powered attack (SSN) fleet submarines, 2093 / 2193 mine hunting sonar and the new sonar 2087 low-frequency active sonar (LFAS) fitted to the Type 23 frigates.

Initially the contract was priced for a five-year period. During this time, the levels of equipment availability have improved and overall savings in the cost of support have been achieved. In refining the contract for the five years remaining of its current term the MoD has broadened the scope of the contract to extend its benefits to other related equipment. The total value of the 10-year contract is now over £230 million.

The contract is run through the ‘Integrated Support Team - Sonar', which is a joint Thales UK / MoD team based in Abbey Wood, Bristol. This team is augmented by several Thales and J+S Ltd waterfront engineers in the RN's three naval bases (Portsmouth, Plymouth and Faslane) and together they ensure that specialist technical advice and support is delivered whenever it is needed to ensure the continued availability of the sonar systems.

Ed Lowe, Vice President of Thales UK's naval business says: "Agreeing the terms for the second phase of the sonar availability contract recognises both the value of this type of arrangement in driving down costs and the successful way in which Thales UK has delivered the required outputs throughout the past five years. It also secures work over the next five years for more than 100 employees.

"Refining this contract to optimise its performance over the balance of its remaining term reinforces our positive long-term relationship with the Royal Navy."

Mike Waldron, the Group Leader Sonar and Optical Systems for the MoD Defence Equipment and Support Underwater Warfare Systems Team, says: "We are looking forward to another five years of working together with Thales UK to build on the success of the past five years, and continue to provide the Royal Navy with the excellent service that they have come to expect from this contract."

Thales UK will continue to support the contract with work from its two underwater systems sites. Our sonar systems are designed and built at Cheadle Heath near
Manchester, the result of many years and multi-million pounds of investment to ensure we remain at the cutting edge of sonar technology. More than 300 people work at
this site. The outboard arrays for the sonar systems and also the mine hunting sonar systems are manufactured at the Templecombe facility in Somerset where more than 400 people work.

Thales UK is a significant player in the UK's naval market, being a founding partner of the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, an important systems integrator and sensor provider for the Astute-class submarines, and a key equipment supplier for the Type 45-class destroyer programme.

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