Thales and Mitsubishi join forces to develop sonar technology to clear the seas

Following the signing by the Directorate General of Armament (DGA) and its Japanese counterpart, the Acquisition, Technology & Logistics Agency (ATLA), of a defense cooperation agreement, Thales and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) will jointly develop a dual frequency sonar demonstrator that will be evaluated at sea in both countries.

This five-year project is a key step towards closer Franco-Japanese cooperation in mine action, and consolidates the existing partnership between MHI and Thales. The partnership aims to develop a new autonomous anti-mine system capable of detecting, classifying and locating all types of mines.

As part of the existing Franco-Japanese bilateral defense agreement, the two countries have signed the second phase of the cooperation project which involves the development by Thales and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) of a sonar demonstrator dual frequency for mine action, installed on an autonomous drone.

In response to the growing threat posed by mines laid on the seabed, or those that are buried or semi-buried in coastal areas, the Directorate General of Armaments (DGA) and Acquisition, Technology & Logistics Agency (ATLA) have decided to study together the performance of a dual frequency sonar technology constituting a real innovation in this field.

To carry out this project, the two countries chose MHI and Thales, whose expertise here is complementary. This agreement is also an opportunity for the two companies to strengthen their collaboration. World leader in mine action with more than 300 systems in service worldwide, Thales will provide its expertise in sonar processing, with SAMDIS, the latest generation of high-frequency synthetic aperture sonars, which offers multiple capacities. For its part, MHI will supply its low-frequency synthetic aperture sonar, and the OZZ-5 drone.

The intelligent integration of these high and low frequency sonars, combined with the combined capabilities of automatic detection and a classification function, should provide high level performance in a single solution, mutually benefiting the imaging processing capabilities of each system. The result is an autonomous mine action system capable of detecting, classifying and locating all types of threats – from buried mines to landmines.

This agreement also marks the launch of a five-year project for the design, development and integration of a dual-frequency sonar processing system, with offshore experiments conducted in Japan and France. It is therefore the materialization of several years of efforts carried out in cooperation between the DGA, ATLA, Thales and MHI, with a view to building a project capable of meeting the requirements of the French Navy and the maritime self-defense force. Japanese ..

“Thales is very proud to contribute to this first Franco-Japanese defense cooperation project, alongside our partner MHI. We look forward to being able to apply our expertise, widely demonstrated in operational conditions, with our high frequency sonar SAMDIS, which will benefit the French and Japanese defense forces through this unique cooperation for safer seas. », Emphasizes Alexis Morel, Vice-President Underwater Systems, Thales.


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