October 28, 2014 - Thales has unveiled Thales SeeMapper, a turnkey system designed to protect shipping lanes, port access channels, naval bases and privately operated underwater installations. This self-contained solution provides continuous, high-resolution mapping of the sea-bed using a towed synthetic aperture sonar (T-SAS) deployed by a service vessel.
The emergence and proliferation of new threats such as sea mines and acts of piracy have created a need for greater protection of the waterways. To counter these threats, maritime authorities need a system to detect, classify and locate objects below the surface.
These maritime authorities must therefore maintain regular surveillance of the situation below the surface in their areas of responsibility in order to secure shipping lanes, straits, maritime approaches and the access channels to ports and naval bases at all times.
Offshore operators also need to monitor underwater installations to check that systems are operating correctly and to carry out maintenance.
Thales SeeMapper is Thales's response to these multiple requirements. It comprises a vessel deploying a real-time imagery chain to maintain continuous surveillance of the underwater environment, with a towed synthetic aperture sonar (T-SAS) performing high-quality mapping of the sea-bed.
The vessel is also equipped with a fully automatic system to launch and recover the towed sonar. This system has been qualified for operation in rough sea states.
A command-and-control system is used for mission planning and management and to automatically analyse the data gathered.
Thales SeeMapper is a high-performance, affordable turnkey solution intended for defence forces, maritime security agencies and private operators needing to maintain permanent surveillance of their underwater installations (offshore platforms, oil & gas installations, wind farms, marine turbines, etc.).
With its simple, automated deployment procedure, Thales SeeMapper requires only minimal training and no specialised skills for launching and recovering the towed sonar array.