Thales celebrates the production of its 500th FLASH sonar

Thales FLASH sonar deployed by French Navy NFH90 Caiman helicopter (photo credits © Marine Nationale)

Thales teams in Brest are proud to announce the completion of the 500th FLASH sonar system (Folding Light Acoustic System for Helicopters). Thales started the development of the lightweight anti-submarine warfare (ASW) sonar for helicopters in the 1990s, since when the product has been continuously improved to meet naval forces’ needs across the world.

The FLASH system’s outstanding submarine detection performance has made it the gold standard for naval forces around the world, including the US Navy (250 systems), the UK Royal Navy, the Royal Australian Navy, the navies of South Korea, Norway, and the United Arab Emirates, and more recently the Philippines. In France, 14 FLASH systems are in service with the NFH90 helicopters of the French Navy.

Evolving over the years to bring users the benefits of the latest technologies, the world’s leading dipping sonar is still as attractive as ever. The system can also be deployed by unmanned surface vehicles (USV), as demonstrated in recent trials.

“The FLASH dipping sonar is a technological and commercial success story for Thales, and an extraordinary story of human adventure for the hundreds of engineers and technicians from Thales and its many French subcontractors who have contributed to the programme. Driven by this success, we continue to invest to improve the performance and competiveness of our airborne sonars to meet our customers’ anti-submarine warfare needs” declared Alexis Morel, Vice President in charge of Underwater Systems at Thales.