The development phase of France’s third generation of nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines was confirmed by the Minister for the Armed Forces, Florence Parly, on Friday.
The production of France’s new generation of nuclear-powered submarines – the SNLE 3G program – saw France’s defence materiel agency enter into an MoU with Thales to develop new sonar and data processing technology for the submarines, which is set to improve the submarine’s 3D detection capabilities.
Specifically, Thales is expected to supply flank arrays and bow-mounted sonars, a towed linear array leveraging optical technology (ALRO), and other related equipment that form part of the sonar suite, which include intercept arrays, echo-sounders and underwater telephones.
The new technology is set to be retro-fitted onto France’s existing second-generation SSBNs from 2025 before being rolled out onto the next generation of nuclear submarines from 2035.
“New sovereign sonar array, processing and Big Data technologies will deliver unparalleled performance for the third-generation SSBNs and will also be of benefit to the modernised Triomphant Class second-generation SSBNs.” Alexis Morel, vice-president, underwater systems, Thales noted.