Thales to Equip German NH90 Frigate Helicopters With FLASH Sonar

Germany’s Federal Ministry of Defence has tapped French aerospace firm Thales to equip the German Navy’s NH90 multi-role frigate helicopters with Folding Light Acoustic System for Helicopters (FLASH) sonar.

According to Thales, the FLASH dipping sonar system provides “exceptional” anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capabilities to an ASW helicopter. It helps detect, locate, and classify stealthier submarines in territorial waters.

The company explains that the low-frequency wideband sonar offers long-range detection and low false alarm rates in the open ocean and littoral waters. The system also provides unmatched area coverage with the help of the company’s latest BlueTracker buoy processing technology.

“In a world where Navies are facing growing and sometimes unexpected threats and challenges, anti-submarine warfare is resurging as a key discipline for the 21st century and Thales’ FLASH dipping sonar product range offers the best solutions to ensure Navies effectiveness and safety at sea,” the French firm said in a press release.

Once the integration is complete, the NH90 helicopters will reportedly be the first in the world to process both the FLASH dipping sonar and SonoFlash expendable sonar system.

‘Most Capable Variant’

Thales managing director for underwater systems Gwendoline Blandin-Roger explained that the recent agreement between the company and the German Navy shows that the FLASH sonar system is a “trusted solution” that meets the country’s ASW requirements.

She also said that the German Navy will receive the “most capable variant” of the FLASH sonar system that the company has ever delivered, ensuring the best operational service for underwater operations.

More than 500 FLASH-based systems have reportedly been ordered and delivered to 18 naval forces, including the US Navy, UK Royal Navy, French Navy, Royal Australian Navy, Royal Norwegian Navy, and South Korean Navy.

NH90 Helicopter

Developed by aviation firm NHIndustries, the NH90 is a medium-sized, twin-engine frigate helicopter capable of supporting ASW and anti-surface ship warfare operations.

It can fly at up to 300 kilometers per hour, a maximum range of 800 kilometers, and is equipped with anti-submarine and air-to-surface missiles.

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