Building on 50 years of experience in undersea warfare, Thales is now a global leader in underwater systems and the world’s top exporter of sonars and related systems for naval forces

Thales designs and delivers acoustic and communication systems and subsystems for anti-submarine warfare and anti-mine warfare. Our solutions and related services are suitable for all types of platforms: submarines, surface ships, helicopters, maritime patrol aircrafts and unmanned naval systems. 

Surface ships

New threats and the need to conduct operations in both deep and shallow waters have led to a significant shift in operational requirements. Building on solid credentials and uncomparable skills in the undersea battlespace, Thales works with individual customers to tailor its proven, interoperable solution to the specific needs of any type of surface vessel.
Improvements in sonar performance are driven by the increasing need for naval forces to operate in the harsh acoustic environment of littoral waters, and by the emergence of new generations of near-silent submarines. Navies are increasingly opting for active low-frequency sonar systems that are capable of tracking, classifying and locating threats in any environment. Responding to this requirement, Thales has developed the highly successful CAPTAS family of variable-depth sonars, which are available in two-ring and four-ring configurations and instantly resolve left-right ambiguity to deliver a decisive advantage in torpedo detection. These towed systems can also be operated in conjunction with hull-mounted or airborne sonars for combined operations in multistatic mode.

The UMS 4110 hull-mounted sonar for large surface ships combines passive, anti-torpedo and obstacle-avoidance modes. For smaller vessels, the Kingklip hull-mounted sonar offers an excellent balance between performance and space requirements.

submarine systems

This shift in operating conditions calls for modular acoustic systems with very high levels of performance in order to provide submarines with the capabilities they need to perform their missions effectively and safely. Thales develops sonar suites based on open, interoperable architectures to accommodate future capability and minimise cost of ownership. These solutions incorporate high-performance acoustic sensors, integrated processing electronics and advanced user interfaces.


By combining subsystems such as bow-mounted sonar, flank array sonar, obstacle avoidance sonar, intercept sonar and passive towed-array sonar, Thales builds comprehensive, cohesive and integrated solutions that provide submarines with all-round situational awareness together with the ability to detect, locate and classify all types of threats at short, medium and long range across a broad spectrum of frequencies.

  • 140 conventional and nuclear-powered submarines in service with 23 navies are equipped with Thales systems
  • 50% of the accessible global market for submarine sonars is currently held by Thales

Airborne systems

Dipping sonars are a powerful tool for detecting, classifying, locating, tracking and attacking hostile submarines. They are equally well suited to convoy protection roles. They can be used on their own to clear an area, or in conjunction with shipborne sonars to confirm a target location prior to an attack. They are quick to deploy and easy to project into remote theatres, providing an effective response to hostile threats.

Thales developed the FLASH (Folding Light Acoustic System for Helicopters) low-frequency wideband sonar system. Initially designed for helicopters, the FLASH system has also been successfully integrated on unmanned surface vehicles for demonstrations.

The system’s outstanding performance makes it the world leader in dipping sonar and the solution of choice for many naval forces around the world, including the US Navy, the UK Royal Navy, the United Arab Emirates, France, Norway and Sweden. FLASH is typically coupled with an active/passive sonobuoy processing system. Known as FLASH Sonics, this configuration offers a highly compact anti- submarine warfare capability for integration with the mission system on the host platform. Both solutions can be fully integrated with the tactical system, or operated as stand-alone systems as required.
Installed on Maritime Patrol Aircraft, the TMS 2000 sonobuoy processing system offers exceptional signal processing and display performance. TMS 2000 processes data from active sonobuoys in monostatic or multistatic mode. Signals from passive sonobuoys are processed in a range of optimised modes, depending on the nature of the threat. The system includes a full set of signal processing and analysis tools as well as embedded training and mission restitution functions.

  • The Flash system is the world leader in acoustic dipping sonar
  • 180 ALFS (Flash based) system ordered by the US Navy to equip MH-60R multi-mission helicopters

Minewarfare systems

Today, new unmanned naval systems can approach them without endangering human life. Thales offers a complete range of solutions to counter this threat in its many forms. Thales is leading a number of large-scale mine countermeasure programmes, assuming full responsibility for the chosen solution, from prime contracting and system engineering through to shipboard installation and sea trials, as well as equipment supply and combat system integration.

The versatile M-CUBE mission system is based on an open, modular architecture to ensure effective management of the most complex operations. Incorporating state-of-the-art technologies, its comprehensive functionality covers all phases of mine countermeasure missions: planning, execution and supervision, assessment, debriefing and training. M-CUBE is readily configurable to accommodate any type of deployed sensors and includes a wide range of built-in support tools. It drastically reduces operator workload while ensuring a very high level of efficiency and safety.

  • Over 300 minehunting sonar delivered to customers around the world
  • The main contracts in recent years are with France, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Belgium, Malaysia and India.

Unmanned Naval Systems

These systems overcome the need to put human lives at risk while improving the overall efficiency of naval operations. 

We offer a range of Unmanned Surface Vehicles (USVs) equipped with the T-SAS very high-resolution Towed Synthetic Aperture Sonar, and Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs), which are able to make decisions based on the situations they encounter. These solutions can be deployed individually or in combination and operated from a remote command centre. Alongside Thales innovations in Synthetic Aperture Sonar, recent research has focused on the deployment and recovery phases of unmanned operations, leading to the development of the fully automated LARS Launch And Retrieval System.

Torpedoes homing heads

Thales supplies homing heads for lightweight torpedoes, particularly the MU90/IMPACT torpedo. Combining range, velocity, agility and lethality, these highly sophisticated NATO-compliant weapons have proven their effectiveness in all types of maritime theatres. They can be launched from helicopters, Maritime Patrol Aircraft as well as surface ships. The versatile guidance systems are a showcase of Thales expertise in miniaturised sonar and are designed to accommodate future technology insertion as required.

  • Over 1000 units already produced
  • The MU90 has been chosen by France, Italy, Germany, Denmark, Poland and Australia.


Communications systems

The FICS developed by Thales is an integrated communications system for surface vessels, submarines and ground centres, offering centralised communications management. It comprises a multi-level secure local IP network providing high-data-rate connections between local users and external communications equipment (modems, terminals, radio, satcom, ….) and a broad range of services (voice, data, intercom, conferencing, databases, video, …)

The NFI developed by Thales is a federated secure IP network, combining the whole present and future communications means (HF, V/UHF, Satcom, SHF, …) and providing onboard and “over the air” network resources for multi-media services between ships and with the shore such as E-mail, MHS, Databases, Images, visio conferences, Voice over IP, …


Identification and navigation systems

The Thales high power long range combined interrogator transponder (CIT) and interrogator systems are compliant with all relevant standards and can be delivered or easily upgraded to include National Secure Mode or the latest military standard Mode 5 which will very shortly become a critical requirement for participation in NATO coalition operations.

These rugged and reliable systems provide assured capability in the demanding environment of shipborne military operations.




Submarine Periscopes

Thales Group - Periscope
Suitable for either new build or retrofit applications, Thales periscopes can be offered in either a stand-alone configuration or can be paired with an advanced optronics mast system to provide an unrivalled blend of operational capability and reliability.

Submarine Masts

Thales Group - Optronics masts
The Thales optronic masts represent the current generation of submarine above-water electro-optic surveillance system. They combine innovative design with the latest proven technology to provide exceptional performance and operational advantage under all conditions.