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THALES was selected by the Netherlands Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) to deliver its digital wideband Radar Electronic Support Measures (RESM) product VIGILE D as part of an equipment upgrade for three Royal Netherlands Navy (RNlN) frigates plus two frigates of the Portuguese Navy, the latter undergoing a midlife upgrade in the Netherlands until the end of 2019. The modernisation of their vital ship systems is aimed at prolonging the service life well beyond 2030.

With modern Electronic Warfare (EW) systems required to cope with the unprecedented growth in electromagnetic transmissions across the electromagnetic spectrum (EMS), traditional systems are now suffering from unparalleled saturation, according to THALES in an announcement on Tuesday, which reduces the probability of accurate threat detection. The need to protect against complex and diverse threats that exploit the EMS is more critical than ever, the company noted. Applying its transformative expertise and advanced digital technology, VIGILE D will detect multiple signals simultaneously across a wide frequency range with “100% multi-signal probability detection,” said THALES. “Our digital technology provides the earliest possible warning of radar guided weapons, targeting systems or covertly operating forces, with greater reliability and accuracy than conventional systems even where the [EMS] is congested.”

In addition to this, THALES is making EW more versatile and transferable as a military capability. The equipment delivered to DMO uses easily upgradeable software and wideband digital receiver technology, making use of more affordable off-the-shelf technology. VIGILE D will provide relevant and timely intelligence for decision makers to understand and evaluate their operational environment, making better operational decisions. THALES explained that the RNlN, as an advanced user of EW technology, is functioning as a ‘landmark’ customer for the company. The adoption of VIGILE D technology by two other NATO navies in addition to the UK Royal Navy offers enhanced data exchange between allied warships. Other NATO navies are now actively exploring the integration of the technology onto their warships, to “broaden the VIGILE D family and generate synergies and benefits across a wide community for years to come,” said Victor Chavez, CEO of THALES UK. VIGILE D is manufactured in Crawley, England, using local partners as suppliers and securing skills and electronic warfare capability in the UK.

Stefan Nitschke

 

VIGILE D is selected for the upgrade of three RNlN frigates and two former Karel Doorman class frigates (shown) in service with the Marinha Portuguesa. (Photo: Victor Barreira)

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