Thales to update Royal Navy’s Type 23 frigate communications

HMS Argyll

The UK Ministry of Defence has awarded French defence company Thales a £19 (approx. $26.4) million contract to perform a mid-life update to the External Communications Voice Distribution and Management System (called KMY) for the Royal Navy (RN) Type 23 frigate fleet.

Known as KRS (KMY Replacement System), this will replace the currently installed analogue KMY communications system, with a fully digital solution, and will serve the Type 23 platform until the new Type 26 frigate joins the fleet.

KRS is phase 1 of the fleet-wide ‘Project Calliope’, which will progressively update the majority of terrestrial communications systems fitted across the Royal Navy surface fleet and also some Royal Fleet Auxiliary platforms.

Thales is the main supplier of communications systems for the Royal Navy, and the award of Calliope phase 1 allows further convergence of communications systems across the platforms, thereby reducing the training and support burden and enabling effective and competitive long term support through economies of scale.

Speaking about the contract award, Carolyn Bellars, the MoD’s Defence Equipment & Support Maritime Combat Systems Communications and Situational Awareness Team Leader said: “I am pleased to be awarding the KRS Contract to Thales – their design offers a compelling solution providing value for money through life.”

“KRS represents a significant improvement in technology terms and the Thales solution brings things right up to date.”

Ship fits are expected to commence in Spring 2017 and the contract includes five years of support on an availability basis.

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