Japan Orders Thales Optronic Submarine Masts
Thales UK received a contract from Mitsubishi Electric Corporation (MELCO) for the development and manufacture of optronic-mast technology for the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force’s submarines. Contract figures were not disclosed.
The optronic mast’s design means that it doesn’t go through the hull like a normal periscope, which allows greater flexibility in craft design. The MELCO deal represents the first export contract for the optronic mast, which uses high-resolution cameras that are mounted in the submarine’s sensor head. The images provided are then displayed on console screens in the submarine’s operations center via an electronic link.
This contract award follows the signing of a Manufacturing Licence Agreement (MLA) in May 2004 by Thales and MELCO covering the technology transfer for sub-systems of the Thales UK non-hull penetrating Optronic Mast system. Under the MLA Optronic Mast sub-systems will be manufactured and initially assembled by Thales UK in Glasgow, with assembly subsequently being undertaken by MELCO.
This is the first export contract for the Optronic Mast, and comes after winning the Royal Navy ASTUTE class submarine programme in the UK. Masts for the first two submarines have already been delivered. Earlier this year, Thales UK successfully completed the acceptance and delivery of the first upgraded CK038 hull-penetrating periscope system for the Swedish submarine service. The $14.5 million contract included the design, modification, installation, and setting to work of five CK038 periscope systems, as well as the provision of dedicated operator and maintainer training. Under the terms of the deal, a further four upgraded systems are scheduled for delivery later in 2005.
- Thales UK (June 28/05) – Japan awards Thales UK a contract for Optronic Masts