The NATO Helicopter Management Agency (NAHEMA), in the name of the French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA), has awarded Thales a two-year contract, with a three-year extension close, to support 14 FLASH dipping sonars on the French Navy’s 27 NH90 NFH helicopters.
Thales has extensive experience in the delivery of through-life support services for underwater warfare systems and offers a broad range of options to meet the individual requirements of each customer: documentation, supplies and replacement parts, logistics, hotline assistance, repairs, obsolescence management, test and maintenance benches, all-inclusive performance-based contracts and more.
This contract includes an array of on-demand and fixed-fee services delivered on a local basis to ensure a rapid response.
The contract will contribute to the operational readiness of the French Navy NH90 NFH helicopters equipped with the FLASH sonar system and will enable them to fulfil their antisubmarine warfare missions in conjunction with the Navy’s FREMM frigates equipped with the Captas-4 variable depth sonar from Thales.
Benoit Plantier, Managing Director of Thales Underwater Systems, said he was „delighted with this success, which is also Thales’s first through-life support contract for the NH90 NFH helicopters in service with the French Navy. Drawing on its solid experience in through-life support for anti-submarine warfare systems, Thales is able to offer this type of service for other navies equipped with the FLASH sonar.”
The FLASH sonar from Thales is designed as the primary anti-submarine warfare sensor system for installation on maritime surveillance helicopters. To date, close to 150 units have been installed on naval helicopters operated by navies in France (NH90 NFH), the United Kingdom (Merlin EH101), Norway (NH90), the United States (MH60-R), Sweden (NH90) and the United Arab Emirates (Cougar).
The FLASH dipping sonar was developed to counter the threat of quiet submarines operating either in deep or littoral waters, where reverberation and traffic noise make detection particularly difficult.