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Thales displays innovative integrated mast at Pacific 2010

27th January 2010 - 15:30 GMT | by The Shephard News Team


Thales's innovative I-Mast 100 will be on display at this week's Pacific 2010 international maritime exposition in Sydney, demonstrating the company's leading international position in naval sensor systems.

The I-Mast 100 is a central mast structure that houses all of a ship's radar and optronic sensors, Identification Friend-or-Foe (IFF), electronic warfare antennas, communication antennas including SATCOMs, and all associated cabinets and peripherals. More specifically, it is a reference design that can be adapted to meet specific requirements - in terms of shape and antenna configuration - from navies and shipyards.

The advantages of this sensor concept are numerous: improved operational performance, higher operational availability, reduced shipbuilding time, reduced maintenance requirements and substantial savings in below-deck space.

Chris Jenkins, Thales Australia's Managing Director, said the I-Mast concept was an innovative example of Thales's extensive technological expertise. "The I-Mast is a genuine solution that delivers advanced and integrated capabilities to customers while lowering operating costs. It shows what can be achieved by working closely with customers, understanding their needs and anticipating their evolving requirements."

I-Mast 100 is the second member of Thales's I-Mast family. The larger I-Mast 400 is currently being built at Thales's Hengelo facility in the Netherlands, with the first system due for installation on the Royal Dutch Navy's Holland class Patrol Vessels at the end of 2010.

Scalable and designed for flexibility, the I-Mast 100 offers unrivalled operational performance, continuous operation, and an unobstructed 360-degree view for all sensors. The problem of electromagnetic interference has been solved by studying all of a ship's topside elements instead of looking at separate systems. Survivability is increased as the IMast offers high levels of redundancy and incorporates solid-state technology.

The I-Mast 100 houses a sensor architecture that uses open interface standards and common building blocks. This unique comprehensive solution reduces the need for dedicated sensor maintainers, requires less training, and offers simple status monitoring by a web-based built-in test system that provides information on all systems integrated in the IMast. Maintenance can be performed from the interior, even under adverse weather conditions, reducing overall operational costs even further.

While the shipyard concentrates on its core business of shipbuilding, Thales simultaneously integrates and tests all of the sensors in the I-Mast structure, and tests its full performance before it is delivered to the shipyard as a turnkey system for installation on the ship. This procedure eliminates complicated and lengthy installation activities, and also means sea trials to demonstrate sensor and antenna operations can be substantially reduced.

Source: Thales

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