Following an international competition, Thales has been awarded the role of prime contractor in the upgrade of three Sandown Class Single Role Minehunters for the Estonian Ministry of Defense (MoD).
Thales will be the Prime Contractor on behalf of the Estonian MoD, with responsibility for the revised vessel design, equipment/system specification and procurement, platform and system integration, shipyard management and all test, trial and acceptance events. Thales will also supply the ships’ mission package which will be delivered with full operational capability in 2019.
The upgrade mission package includes new navigation systems, the Sonar 2193 wideband hull mounted sonar, the M-CUBE command and control system (C2) and a fleet mine warfare data centre.
Commander of the Estonian Navy, CPT (N) Sepper stated: “Background activities to upgrade the Naval Mine Counter Measure (NMCM) capability of the Sandown class commenced during the initial procurement phase of the vessels. I am delighted to see that we are now moving on to the execution phase.”
“The current upgrade program provides the Navy with the opportunity to extend its conventional NMCM capability, based on proven technological solutions and tactics into the next decade. This upgrade program also provides a valuable and much needed extended timeframe to analyze the future capability requirements and readiness of possible technological solutions that would eventually replace the legacy systems,” he added.
This upgrade builds on the naval architecture and engineering expertise already established through the Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carrier and the Lithuania Hunt Regeneration contract.
The work has been led from Thales’s facilities in Cheadle and Templecombe, supported by Babcock Marine Systems in Rosyth.
“I am very pleased that Thales has been selected by the Estonian MoD for this prestigious and important program. This is a challenging but exciting project, and these three ships will be upgraded with state of the art minehunting technology that will enable the Estonian Navy to continue to play an important role in NATO mine counter measures group 1 operations,” said Phil Jones, Managing Director, Maritime Mission Systems for Thales in the UK.
The Sandown class is a class of minehunter originally built for the British Royal Navy). Sandown-class vessels also serve with the Royal Saudi Navy and the Estonian Navy (Merevägi). The first vessel was commissioned into Royal Navy service on 9 June 1989 and all the British ships are named after coastal towns and cities.
These small (53 m) fiberglass vessels are single role mine hunters (SRMH) rather than minesweepers. Twelve ships were built for the Royal Navy and three ships were exported to Saudi Arabia.
Thales is a global technology leader for the Aerospace, Transport, Defense and Security markets. With 61,000 employees in 56 countries, and over 20,000 engineers and researchers, Thales has a unique capability to design and deploy equipment, systems and services to meet the most complex security requirements.