Following a call for international tender, the Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) of Singapore awarded Thales with the Life Extension Programme (LEP) of its 4 Bedok class mine-countermeasure vessels.
This significant contract highlights the relevance of both Thales’s naval technology portfolio and its comprehensive set of skills and capabilities to address key modernisation programs in an evermore-competitive international naval market.
Thales will provide an advanced, integrated mine-countermeasure (MCM) Combat System, including the Mine Information System, a Hull Mounted Sonar, a Towed Synthetic Aperture Sonar (SAS) and Expendable Mine Disposal Systems. Thales will also be in charge of making any structural alterations to the vessels in relation to the integration of new systems and equipment.
“Thales is honoured to have been selected by the DSTA as Prime Contractor for the modernisation program of the Bedok Class MCM vessels. This contract award underlines the cutting edge of Thales’s naval technology portfolio to address the very challenging maritime environment of the Republic of Singapore”, says Marc Darmon, Senior Vice President of Thales and Head of Naval Division.
Within the framework of the contract, Thales will also closely cooperate with the ST Electronics Group, building on the successful history of cooperation in various other programs.
“Upon completion of the modernisation program, the RSN will benefit from a high coverage rate of MCM operations, with a very high level of detection and classification accuracy of the most advanced sea mines. This enhanced capability constitutes a key contribution to a safer maritime environment”, says Benoit Ribadeau-Dumas, Vice President of Thales’s Underwater Systems Business.
In 2007 and 2008, Thales has been awarded significant MCM modernisations programs in Norway, India and Lithuania.
With an every higher degree of sophistication and the potential use by terrorists in high traffic sea lines of communications, sea mines pose an increasing threat to naval forces and commercial vessel traffic. In order to counter such threats, navies around the world are maintaining a cutting edge mine-hunting capability. This requires innovative sensors and algorithms able to rapidly and with a high degree of confidence detect and classify mines are necessary, along with the effectors to dispose of them. Effectors may include expendable drones so as to remove the human operator from being exposed to the threats posed by mine disposal operations.