Royal Navy seeks new sonar options on frigates

10 mins

Type 23 frigates currently use a low frequency active and passive ‘Variable Depth Sonar’ cal...

Mane Defence Team

By Mane Defence Team

Type 23 frigates currently use a low frequency active and passive ‘Variable Depth Sonar’ called Sonar 2087, but the Ministry of Defence is currently looking at ways to upgrade this. The project, called ‘Spearhead Initiative’, is focused on upgrading the capabilities of Sonar 2087.

The Ministry of Defence explained the initiative, saying it “seeks to combine emerging technological solutions with innovative acquisition practices to solve real world military problems much more quickly than traditional processes would allow”.

Designed and manufactured by Thales in the UK and France, Sonar 2087 is a towed array sonar. It’s used on eight Type 23 frigates, and it’s expected to be used on Type 26 frigates in the future. Thales describes the Sonar 2087 system as being “a towed array that enables Type 23 frigates to hunt the latest submarines at considerable distances and locate them beyond the range at which they can launch an attack.”

The aims of Spearhead Initiative

There are a number of intended outcomes for ‘Spearhead Initiative’ including increased lethality of ASW platforms and associated effectors, and improved shared awareness of maritime platforms delivering ASW. It’s also hoped that ‘Spearhead Initiative’ will lead to improved data handling and analysis by the Royal Navy, and improved UK Prosperity by promoting defence exports. By upgrading Sonar 2087 detection, tracking, prosecution and networking of sensors and platforms should also improve.

The pre-procurement notice states: “The date and venue for this event will be published in due course (currently expected to be 5th December 2022 at HMS Collingwood, Gosport, but may be subject to change).”

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