Spanish Navy selects Thales to deliver ASW sonar suites to new F-110 frigates

Spanish Navy selects Thales to deliver ASW sonar suites to new F-110 frigates
Spanish F-110 frigates

The Spanish Navy has awarded Thales a EUR165.5 million contract to provide the integrated anti-submarine warfare (ASW) sonar suites to five new F-110 frigates.

The Spanish Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) Directorate General of Armament and Materiel (DGAM) and Navantia jointly selected the Thales ASW solution, which integrates hull-mounted and variable depth sonars through a dedicated software layer.

The vessels’ ASW capability is based on two world-class sonars, the CAPTAS 4 Compact and the BlueMaster, and the BlueScan digital acoustic system.

The system is expected to be integrated through Navantia Combat Management System SCOMBA F110 and will enable the service to conduct maritime surveillance, search and protection missions in any theatre of operations.

The F-110 solution, procured to replace the aging F-80 Santa María-class frigates,  is intended to provide Spanish Forces with a versatile and flexible multi-mission surface combatant.

The ASW System leverages Big Data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to bring naval forces a tactical advantage.

Alexis Morel, Vice President, Underwater Systems, Thales, said, “After two years of talks with the Spanish Navy and Navantia about this contract to equip five F110 frigates, we welcome Spain’s decision to join other NATO countries (the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Norway) and Australia in placing their trust in Thales for their anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capabilities.”

“To help their naval forces conduct their missions in today’s heightened underwater threat environment, Thales has invested for many years in Australia, France and the United Kingdom to develop a unique set of digital sonar data processing and analytics technologies. Given the complexity of the underwater environment and the level of sophistication of the adversary, digitalisation and data fusion techniques are the only effective way to counter undersea threats in the 21st century,” Morel said.

“With our Spanish partners, and with Navantia in particular, we are very pleased to have the opportunity to strengthen our cooperation on this programme, in which local industry will play a significant role in producing, integrating and maintaining the systems alongside the Spanish Navy,” Morel added.

Defense Insight Analysis

BlueScan is a collaborative ASW solution that processes significantly higher volumes of sonar data from various different platforms to provide the operator with a complete overview of the acoustic situation in real-time.

The contract was awarded by prime contractor Navantia on 11 December 2019.

Navantia was awarded a long-delayed manufacture contract in April 2019, with the first-of-class scheduled for delivery in 2026.


Matteo Natalucci

Matteo Natalucci is a geopolitics expert working as an Editor in London covering all aspects of international affairs and technology. Matteo previously worked for the United Nations, the European Commission, Thomson Reuters, Bloomberg, IHS Markit, and Global Data. Get in touch with the author: matteo.natalucci@internationalinsider.org