Thales South Africa (TSA) is currently delivering workstations (pictured) and related combat suite equipment under a 12.4 million euro contract to France for fitment to the first batch of that country’s new multi-mission European frigates (FREMM).
TSA is manufacturing 17 composite-material operator’s consoles and three steel remote electric cabinets (RECs) for each of seven French and one Morocco FREMM, totalling 136 consoles and 24 RECs. Each ship is also being provided with three 57-inch flat-screen displays. The company is negotiating to supply a further 72 consoles (18 per ship), 12 RECs and 12 screens for a further four FREMM. That deal could be worth a further seven million euro.
The technology being exported to France is similar to that developed for Project Sitron, the South African Navy’s frigate programme. The Valour-class frigates are fitted with Thales combat suites. Company official say there is a major difference in layout between the SA and French designs, with the former being more-traditional steel consoles with stacked screens and the latter being work-stations (see picture) with horizontal anti-flickering display screens.
TSA has also had success with its Mikros compact modular combat suite, selling six – consisting of the appropriate hard- and software – to the Royal Thai Navy. Three are being fitted to a new-built class of 42m patrol vessels, while the remainder will be retrofitted to a class of 68m gunboats. The system was first displayed at last year’s SeaPower for Africa Symposium and is seen a contender for Project Biro, the SA Navy’s mooted patrol vessel acquisition.
Mikros comprises of common compact console that can either be programmed as a sensor control or as a fire control system. Mikros offers naval and paramilitary users effective and efficient solutions that it within the scope of requirement, space, weight and budget, Thales sales literature adds. The compact sensor control system “facilitates the conduct of surveillance operations by providing a sensor/console pairing which incorporates much of the situational awareness and planning functionality normally only found in more complex combat management systems (CMS).” The compact fire control system “provides a dedicated tracker and fire control solution, the components and performance of which can be tailored to meet the unique space, weight and threat requirements of individual users.”
The systems can be fitted independently as stand-alones or can be linked together to provide a complete CMS solution for a smaller vessel.