Thales to provide digital EW to the Netherlands and Portuguese navies

By Luca Peruzzi

The Netherlands Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) has selected Thales’s Vigile D digital wideband Radar Electronic Support Measures (RESM) as part of an equipment upgrade for three Royal Netherlands Navy’s warships and two Portuguese Navy’s frigates undergoing retrofit in the Netherlands.

The Netherlands’ State Secretary for Defence, Barbara Visser, signed the contract for the Thales EW equipment on the first day of DSEI 2019 exhibition. Developed by Thales UK for the Royal Navy main frontline vessels represented by Type 45 Daring-class destroyers, the digital wideband RESM Vigile D has been developed to enables much greater and more accurate threat detection in an increasingly congested electromagnetic environment, thus increasing the probability of operational success.

With the rapidly changing RF spectrum and the explosion of civilian communications such as 3G and 4G mobile communications, Wi-Max, and the introduction of complex emitters including wideband SATCOM, multi-function radars and low-probability of intercept radars, Thales has developed the RESM Vigile D which uses a patented wideband digital receiver technology that overcomes the limitations of previous analogue receiver-based systems and is capable of monitoring multiple-overlapping signals maintaining 100% probability of intercept (POI) against all signals, regardless of type and power. This means that signals of interest such as threat emitters are not masked by high-power signals.

Capable of simultaneous continuous wave and pulse signal detection, which high-power signals are not able to mask lower power, requiring no RF interface management filters, the Vigile D covers a 2-18 GHz frequency band with extended capabilities to 0.5-40 GHz, and a system sensitivity of -65 dBmi or higher sensitivity models on request.

Thanks to a software-defined and easily upgradable architecture, the Vigile D can maintain a capability to remain current for a longer life-span, dramatically reducing the trough-life cost of ownership.

“Thales is pleased that DMO has recognized the benefits of the digital technology in Vigile D. As the Netherlands is an advanced user of electronic warfare technology, they are also very much a landmark customer for Thales. The adoption of the 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 Vigile D into their fleets, which will broaden the Vigile-D family and generate synergies and benefits across a wide community, for years to come”, said Victor Chavez, Thales CEO in the UK.

As anticipated, the Vigile D will equip the two Karel Doorman-class or ‘M-frigate’ in service with the Portuguese Navy, which are receiving a mid-life upgrade at RNLN shipyard in Den Helder, as well as three Dutch Navy’s vessels which hasn’t been identified by Thales press statement.

Photo courtesy Thales