Skip to comments.Thales’ Support for Future French Multi-Mission Frigates
Posted on 05/05/2010 7:49:52 AM PDT by sukhoi-30mki
Thales Support for Future French Multi-Mission Frigates
Thales outlines supplied systems for the French FREMM programme
06:30 GMT, May 5, 2010 Neuilly-sur-Seine | Since early 2007, construction is underway at the Lorient shipyard for the FREMM Aquitaine, the first in a world-class series of future frigates for the French Navy. Thales is proud to be onboard the FREMM Aquitaine, which is scheduled to be put to water this week in preparation for further testing. Thales systems comprise a significant portion of the operational value of these frigates, for which prime contracting duties for shipbuilding and combat systems management are handled by DCNS in France.
FREMM is a European programme for multi-mission frigates launched in 2005 by France (Frégate Européenne Multi-Mission) and Italy (Fregata Europea Multi-Missione). Run by the European joint armaments cooperation organisation, OCCAR, the objective of this programme is to replace existing navy frigates with new 6,000-tonne frigates equipped with cutting-edge warfare systems.
FREMM is the European frigate of the future and Thales systems make a significant contribution to its multi-mission capabilities. Thales systems onboard the Aquitaine include a bow and towed array sonar suite, the Herakles multifunction radar, the Artemis infrared search and track system, as well as electronic warfare and communications systems.
The frigates multi-mission capabilities allow it to act alone as a powerful deterrent asset or to draw on its state-of-the-art Thales communications systems to pursue action as part of an inter-allied force. This vessel also has unrivalled stealth capacity, a crucial advantage for enhancing the success and safety of missions.
Under this programme, France has to date ordered 11 frigates, consisting of nine anti-submarine warfare (ASW) versions and two anti-air versions (FREDA). The Aquitaine, an ASW version, is the first of these frigates to be put to water.
Thales equips the FREMM frigates with a sonar suite that reaches unparalleled performance levels. This includes very long anti-submarine detection ranges and efficient simultaneous torpedo defence capabilities taking on minimum risk with maximum reliability. The suite combines the UMS 4110 CL bow mounted sonar with the CAPTAS 4 VDS (Variable Depth Sonar), a towed array system from the Thales CAPTAS family.
The unique CAPTAS 4 (Combined Active and Passive Towed Array Sonar, 4 rings, for Surface Ship Underwater Warfare) system is a technological breakthrough drawing on low frequency passive and active arrays, with an exceptional reach on silent targets. The CAPTAS 4 is equipped with a quick and automated system for deploying towed elements in the water. Its long-range detection will allow FREMM to regain the tactical advantage over submarines.
The CAPTAS 4 design makes it highly effective even in shallow waters where the vertical directivity and wide bandwidth of the transmit array and the horizontal directivity of the receive array can significantly reduce reverberation effects.
Thales, with more than 20 years experience in this field, is the world leader in very low frequency variable depth sonars. CAPTAS is the only low frequency variable depth sonar in service with NATO and leading navies.
The UMS 4110 CL is a long-range sonar for offensive ASW and self-protection. This bow mounted sonar is designed for multi-mode operation and can simultaneously operate two active channels - ASW transmission modes - as well as passive channels for listening only or for the tracking of torpedoes. It also has the capability to carry out obstacle avoidance.
A conventional cylindrical array lies at the heart of the UMS 4110 CL system, operating at about 5 kHz so as to exploit the range advantage of a rather low frequency. This system draws on the very latest underwater acoustic and sonar architecture technologies, giving FREMM cutting-edge capabilities for detection in all types of environments and in the face of increasingly diverse threats.
Thales has equipped FREMM with its latest multifunction radar, Herakles. This radar performs simultaneous long-range air and surface surveillance, for wide-area protection of consort ships and contributes to the deployment of air defence and anti-surface weapons.
Operating in S-band, it provides effective naval capability with optimum acquisition and life cycle cost. It performs detection, acquisition and tracking of all target profiles including stealth missiles, and ARM (Anti-Radiation Missiles), even in dense ECM (Electronic Counter Measures) and clutter environments.
Herakles consists of a two-axis electronically-scanned antenna. This antenna has a 60 rpm rotation speed associated with back scanning performance for accurate tracking of the most highly manoeuvring targets. Herakles has an exceptionally high operational availability with an all solid-state technology and redundant architecture and it performs excellently in brown and blue water operations.
Herakles has already been selected by major navies as a sole radar. Its exceptional reliability and high operational availability are crucial to this role. Certified for Aster 15 and 30 missiles, it is optimised for littoral operations in times of crisis or war.
Thales is supplying the state-of-the-art Artemis passive panoramic surveillance system onboard FREMM. Artemis (Advanced Reliable Third generation Electro-optical Multiplexing Infrared Search and track) improves situational awareness and overall ship self-defence by detecting and tracking the infrared signatures of low elevation air and surface threats.
This infrared search and track system has a high-resolution visualisation function that plays a valuable role in close-range surveillance, ship identification, coastal imaging, night navigation, consort ship protection, as well as search and rescue operations. The exceptional stability of the images it provides - regardless of conditions at sea - combined with its simple platform integration, rank Artemis first worldwide in the field of infrared search and track.
This system makes a significant contribution to FREMM survivability and draws on MWIR (Mid Wave Infrared) cameras to detect small air targets at extended ranges, while retaining an impressive surface detection capability. To detect and track these airborne and surface asymmetric threats, Artemis uses three sensor units fixed on a mast or topside structure to achieve 360° surveillance coverage in azimuth.
Thales, in collaboration with the Thales-Elettronica joint venture Sigen, is supplying FREMM with the latest generation electronic warfare. Thales is equipping the Electronic Support Measures (ESM) that allow the frigate to anticipate threats before it can be detected, as well as to optimise its situation awareness and to gather intelligence.
This groundbreaking system incorporates key operational features such as very high sensitivity, very high accuracy direction finding and broadband digital receivers. These sensors include Radar ESM and Communications ESM, providing early detection and immediate threat warning. They also contribute to tactical situation awareness by identifying emitters, reporting new activity and generating signals intelligence in real time.
Sigen, via Elettronica, is also supplying the jamming and decoying system. The Radar ECM (Electronic Counter Measures) is the soft kill solution to defeat hostile emitters. This active system contributes to point and wide area defence, and can decoy and attract incoming missiles away from their targets.
Thales communication systems supplied onboard the FREMM frigates are based on an open architecture that allows for the ongoing integration of equipment furnished by Thales and partners, as well as of commercial off-the-shelf solutions, or COTS.
This system is centred on a secure local IP (Internet Protocol) network that covers external communications from VLF (Very Low Frequency) to civil and military SATCOM. The internal communications systems supplied by Thales enables more than 160 users - via voice and computer terminals - to access the network simultaneously onboard this vessel designed for a crew of 108.
This Fully Integrated Communication System (FICS) relies on an optimised management that allows configuration according to specific needs. As such, user access, frequency, emission/reception channels and the control of emissions can be adapted on an ongoing basis.
The FREMM latest generation voice over IP application, developed by Thales, allows access for more than 60 users to the entire range of telephony services (conferences, radio communications, etc). Crew and personnel can make use of these services via audio terminals with touch screen displays, each managing up to 12 separate communication applications at one time.
Thales, having contributed to FREMMs operational advantage, is proud to help this multi-mission frigate of the future rise to the challenge of increasingly diverse threats.
----  The sonars UMS4229 and UMS4249 (S2087 in UK) are now respectively called CAPTAS 2 and CAPTAS 4 according to their number of rings.
Company or Organisation Portrait: Thales is a global technology leader for the Aerospace and Space, Defence, Security and Transportation markets. In 2009, the company generated revenues of 12.9 billion euros with 68,000 employees in 50 countries. With its 25,000 engineers and researchers, Thales has a unique capability to design, develop and deploy equipment, systems and services that meet the most complex security requirements. Thales has an exceptional international footprint, with operations around the world working with customers as local partners.
French concept of the European Multi-Mission Frigate (FREMM).