Arguably our greatest single innovation was introducing a night vision capability to allow submarines to navigate and gather intelligence 24/7.

Victor Chavez, CEO of Thales UK

By the 70s, the company was supplying the RN with periscopes with an electronic warfare and electronics supports measures antenna, infra-red scopes, and the first laser rangefinder on a scope.

In 1991 came the first remote-controlled periscope and from 2003, the first ‘optronic’ mast – periscopes which do not penetrate a submarine’s hull, but do record a 360-degee digital image for the command team to analyse at their leisure – for the Astute class.

From the relatively simple beginnings a century ago, those periscope/masts have evolved to provide night vision and thermal imaging and support communications on top of the basics of targeting and navigation.

Today the firm is working on optronic masts for the final three of the Astute-class hunter killers: Anson, Agamemnon and Ajax.

Next year Thales intends to unveil LPV, the next-generation optronic mast – which may be fitted to the Dreadnought class of submarines which will replace today’s V-boat ballistic deterrent boats.

“Arguably our greatest single innovation was introducing a night vision capability to allow submarines to navigate and gather intelligence 24/7,” said Victor Chavez, CEO of Thales UK.

“However, our latest full remote control, non-hull penetrating optronic systems give naval architects more design flexibility by not restricting them to co-locating the fin and the control room via a 50ft long periscope.

“These options, combined with the digital inboard control and display system, provide commanders with a leap forward in submarine capability.”

HMNB Clyde

Learn more

Warfare Specialist Tactical (Submariner)

Join us