Australia funds Thales sonar development

Aug. 2, 2010 at 10:22 AM

RYDALMERE, Australia, Aug. 2 (UPI) -- Thales Australia's new towed sonar array for submarines has been awarded government funding for further development.

The award from Australia's Department of Defense's Capability and Technology Demonstrator program was announced by Australia Minister for Defense Materiel and Science Greg Combet to a visit to Thales facility in Rydalmere, New South Wales.

"Australian industry has achieved pioneering breakthroughs in many areas of defense technology and has significant expertise available to support the Australian (military)," said Thales Australia Chief Executive Officer Chris Jenkins. "The FOTA is just one example of these breakthroughs. It is much smaller, lighter and more versatile than previous towed arrays and therefore opens up new possibilities for both vessel design and naval operations."

The Fiber Optic Towed Array involves an electro-optic acoustic sensor that produces laser signals through a thin fiber optic cable.

"The same technology has also been used in the development of rapidly deployable sea-bed surveillance arrays for harbor or ship protection," the company said.

Thales said the FOTA was an ideal upgrade for Australia's Collins submarines as well as for future anti-submarine warfare frigates.

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