Home' Asia Pacific Defence Reporter : APDR Oct 2011 Contents The torpedo room weapons team
aboard the Los Angeles-class attack
submarine USS Albany (SSN 753)
Credit: USN/Todd A. Schaffer
40 | Asia Pacific Defence Reporter
COMBAT SYSTEMS DEFINED
Before proceeding, and because the nomenclature
here in Australia has become muddled, it is
important to define what is meant by a submarine
Dealing with its functional elements, a combat
system consists of a number of sensor sub-systems
such as sonar, ESM, electro-optical, radar and
other instrumentation sensors. Added to this
are integrated communications sub-system for
internal and external communications, a navigation
sub-system to allow for tactical navigation and
to provide a geo-reference frame for the Tactical
Picture. Finally there is a Command and Control
system for the fusion of sub-system data into a
comprehensive and accurate Tactical Picture and
for subsequent engagement/weapon control a
digital storage sub-system for recording both raw
sensor and processed data.
Dealing with its functions, a combat system is
used to carry out mission planning, tactical picture
compilation, tactical evaluation, engagement,
intelligence collection, defensive operations and
general support functions such as communications,
navigation, recording and training.
Modern submarine combat systems are highly
integrated from a physical, electrical, software and
functional perspective. Data from the sub-systems
are presented using a a consistent look and feel
and based around a single operating paradigm.
A well-integrated solution can afford the user a
A US COMBAT SYSTEM ON COLLINS?
Having established the definition of a combat system,
reference to a US Combat System being installed in
the Collins Class submarines must be recognised
as technically incorrect. On Collins we have a
combination of sonar arrays and processors from
DSTO, General Dynamics Advanced Information
Systems, Sonartech Atlas and Thales, an ESM system
from ITT, periscopes from Thales, a federated
navigation system with components supplied from
numerous international companies and a USN AN/
BYG-1 Command and Control System.
In contrast, the Combat System on US
submarines consist of a range of sonar arrays and
processors which have been bought together under
a Lockheed Martin ARCI program, a Lockheed
Martin AN/BLQ-10 electronic warfare system,
two Kollmorgan AN/BVS-1 photonics masts, a
federated navigation system, a Lockheed Martin
Common Submarine Radio Room communication
system and a Raytheon AN/BYG-1 Command and
So fundamentally we do not have a US combat
system on the Collins Class submarine.
SEA 1000 OPTIONS
Unconstrained, one might think that the selection
of the combat system for SEA 1000 might be based
predominantly on its capability and perhaps its
sustainability and upgradability.
However, the reality is that project risk and value-
for-money have to come into play, causing Defence
to be cognisant of the affinity that exists between the
various submarine builders and the combat system
providers. For example, it is unlikely that Australia
would procure a HDW Type 214 submarine and
ask that it be fitted with a Thales SUBTICs System.
Likewise, it is unlikely that Australia would procure
Navantia’s S-80 and abandon the Lockheed Martin
SUBICs system fitted to it. Mixing and matching
doesn’t make a lot of sense.
So, what are the obvious submarine and combat
system packaging options?
If Australia were to procure a Scorpene
submarine from DCNS it would undoubtedly be
There are some who suggest that the obvious combat system
choice for our future submarine is the one that is common
to Los Angeles, Seawolf, Virginia and Ohio Class boats.
9/29/2011 12:42:02 PM
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