Thales Australia has successfully trialled an advanced submarine sonar processor aboard HMAS Collins.

The processor was developed by Thales, utilising skills and technology from both Australia and Europe.

The aims were to demonstrate, using the existing Collins sonar arrays, increased sonar performance through incorporation of advanced processing techniques, and a methodology to counter the obsolescence which accompanies signal processing chips due to technology advancement.

The advanced sonar processor was initially installed over a weekend in HMAS Rankin in early 2008, transferred to Collins in June 2008, and then to Farncomb in July 2009.

The processor was integrated seamlessly with the Collins flank arrays, and has proven to be extremely reliable.

Results from the trials show that the new processor is appreciably improving sonar performance.

This was confirmed by Collins trials where tracking was enhanced significantly and narrow band detection was up by some 20 per cent.

The Navy's requirement for Farncomb was to enhance the submarine's sonar capabilities during exercises with the US Navy.

These exercises included submarine-on-submarine wargames and the US Navy's Prospective Commanding Officers' course.

In addition to better sonar performance, the Thales advanced sonar processor delivers an option for improved obsolescence management to an aging system.

Thales has successfully trialled the new processor in a number of different hardware formats to show portability.

The technology is compatible with other Collins arrays such as the bow array, passive ranging array and the towed array where similar improvements in performance are expected.

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