PARIS, Feb. 23 (UPI) -- The Estonian Ministry of Defense has picked Thales UK as the prime contractor for the upgrade of three mine-hunter vessels.
Under the award, Thales will be responsible for a revised vessel design, system and platform integration and acceptance testing of three Sandown-class mine-hunters and the fitting of its Sonar 2193 system.
Thales will also fit its M-CUBE command-and-control system and supply the ships' mission packages, including a new navigation system, the company said.
The upgraded equipment and the vessels are expected to achieve full operational capability status by 2019.
"Background activities to upgrade the Naval Mine Counter Measure capability of the Sandown-class commenced during the initial procurement phase of the vessels," said Capt. Sten Seeper, commander of the Estonian Navy. "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 time frame to analyze the future capability requirements and readiness of possible technological solutions that would eventually replace the legacy systems."
The work by Thales UK is being supported by Babcock Marine Systems.