30 April 2010

Collins Comms Upgrade ITR Released

30 April 2010

SEA1439 Phase 5B2 will see replacement of the Collins Communications Centre and the implementation of a new external comms system. (photo : upperiscope)

The DMO's Maritime Systems Division has released an ITR for SEA1439 Phase 5B2 pertaining to the replacement of the Collins Communications Centre and the implementation of a new external comms system incorporating a high data rate (HDR) SATCOM capability on the Collins submarine fleet.

In respect of the HDR capability, Raytheon's Sub HDR is a multi-band satellite communication system being installed in US nuclear-powered attack submarines, including the new Virginia class.

The system consists of a mast-mounted antenna that can be deployed by raising it above the ocean's surface while the submarine remains submerged and stealthy at periscope depth.

For Australia, one of the main advantages would be access to the USAF's Advanced Extremely High Frequency system, which offers significantly higher bandwidth than extant systems and is common to US military services, and is also joint with Canada, the Netherlands, and the UK.

ADM understands that Rohde & Schwarz (Australia) will be a contender for the Collins external communications replacement with the SubICS system developed by EID for submarines of both the Portuguese and Spanish navies.

Another important contender has to be L-3 Communications (East), offering their MarCom Integrated Digital Switch as the foundation of what the company describes as its single-system approach which started with the integrated radio room for the Trident submarine and continues with its fielding on US Navy attack submarines.

Thales Australia may be offering its FICS, a fully integrated communications system for surface vessels, submarines and ground centres, offering centralised communications management.

It comprises a multi-level secure local IP network providing high-data-rate connections between local users and external communications equipment such as modems, terminals, radio, and satcom, as well as a broad range of services.

Is there a possibility that the RAN may decide to re-equip the Collins submarine communications centres along the lines of the USN's Common Submarine Radio Room?

This network-based communications architecture is now being installed on a variety of submarine types, including the Virginia class, to use bandwidth more effectively.

The CSRR technology automates functions and requires less equipment and fewer personnel than current systems.

Lockheed Martin developed the CSRR, so one might suspect a strong interest in proposing it for the Collins communications upgrade.

(ADM)

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