Thales UK has been awarded a £330 million (approx. $423 m) contract to develop a sonar system for the UK Royal Navy’s new class of ballistic missile submarines.
The contract was awarded by BAE Systems Submarines, the main contractor on the four-boat Dreadnought-class program. The defense ministry estimates that the development and construction of the four submarines would come with a price tag of £31 billion.
“I am delighted to continue our 50-year strong partnership with Thales. These next-generation sonars and sensors will ensure our nuclear deterrent retains a stealth and detection advantage over adversaries,” UK defense minister Jeremy Quin said.
The submarine-class will also be equipped with Thales Sonar 2076; providing them with the latest in acoustic detection capability. The visual and situational awareness sensor will combine electronic warfare technology with cameras to provide the Dreadnought crew with a visual link to the sea surface.
The next-generation Dreadnought submarines will be the Royal Navy’s most advanced submarines ever when they enter service from the early 2030s. HMS Dreadnought, Valiant, Warspite and King George VI, as the four new submarines will be named, will replace the Vanguard class of ballistic missile submarines currently serving as the UK’s nuclear deterrent.
Manufacture work on the new class of submarines started in October 2016. The boats will be 153.6 meters long and displace 17.200 tons as the largest submarines ever built for the Royal Navy.