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DCNS wins major contract to deliver heavyweight torpedoes

10 Apr 2008

DCNS has won a key contract to deliver, integrate and maintain of about hundred of heavyweight torpedoes. This success further strengthens the group’s position with a view to forming a new entity that will be a world leader in underwater weapons.

DCNS has signed a contract with French defence procurement agency DGA (Délégation Générale pour l’Armement) as prime contractor and manufacturer for new generation heavyweight torpedoes to replace F17 Mod2 torpedoes carried by French nuclear-powered submarines. The contract also calls for an initial six-year period of post-delivery through-life support for the proposed weapons and crew training.

The firm order covers all integration studies with French nuclear-powered submarines as well as the validation and integration of the new weapon with the submarine that will carry the first batch. The options include additional batches of production torpedoes that will be ordered for successive submarines as each comes due for scheduled refit.

The French Navy’s new torpedo will be derived from the Black Shark heavyweight torpedo developed and marketed jointly by Finmeccanica subsidiary WASS (Whitehead Alenia Sistemi Subacquei) of Italy in cooperation with French naval defence group DCNS. DCNS will act as prime contractor, design authority and lead integrator for the proposed weapon system.

DCNS and WASS will supply complete torpedo subassemblies in line with their respective areas of expertise. DCNS will subcontract the manufacture of the acoustic head to Thales Underwater Systems (TUS). The programme will be led and managed by the Saint-Tropez plant with contributions by other DCNS centres. The contract will represent some 50% of the Saint-Tropez plant’s workload.

“This development and production programme for new-generation heavyweight torpedoes is a major step for the DCNS group. It will enable us to strengthen our role as a leading industrial player in the Franco-Italian restructuring plan announced by DCNS, Finmeccanica and Thales on 30 November 2007 with a view to forming a world leader in underwater weapons,” says DCNS Executive Vice President & COO Bernard Planchais.

With a range of over 50 km and a top speed in excess of 50 knots, the new heavyweight torpedo is designed to knock out enemy surface combatants and submarines. Both the torpedo and its warhead, which is sized to destroy all types of ships, comply with the demanding safety requirements laid down for French nuclear-powered submarines.

The torpedo, which is 6 metres in length, features electric propulsion, ‘wire’ guidance combined with final-phase autonomous homing and counter-countermeasure capabilities. Like the Black Shark, the new torpedo offers far higher performance than heavyweight types currently in service.

The new torpedo, which will be fully compatible with the latest combat systems carried by French submarines, opens up new development prospects for DCNS, including international orders for heavyweight torpedoes for new-build submarines or for the modernisation of complete submarine combat systems or their weapon systems.



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