Sunday, April 04, 2010

Open Source for Submarine Sonar

I am giving a talk on in Adelaide 19 April, tentatively titled "Engaging with Defence on Open Source: Commons for Collins or GPL for Growlers?". So I found of interest the article
Open season: submarine sonars build on commercial imperatives (Janes, March 2010), about the use of commercial off the shelf equipment by US companies. This discusses the U.S. Navy's ARCI Program for upgrading old sonar systems.

This might be applied under the new Australian defence strategic reform initiative. There is already a Collins Submarine Communication Replacement (SEA1439 Phase 5B2). These could make use of low cost, off the shelf computer equipment and open source software.
Ongoing Innovation: Modernization and Incorporation of Technology

The Submarine Force is making significant, rapid improvements in acoustic sensors and processing by using commercial technology implemented through innovative system design and acquisition processes. In real-world exercises and operations, both the TB-29 towed array and Acoustic Rapid COTs Insertion Sonar system (ARCI) demonstrate the ability to restore a remarkable acoustic advantage to U.S. submarines. Use of COTS in ARCI (and in a modified TB-29 array) results in substantially reduced costs with significantly improved processing capability. For example, each ARCI shipset costs about 20% of the price of its predecessor, yet improves processing power by an order of magnitude. A key advantage of ARCI is the Advanced Processor Build (APB), which uses improved processing capability to provide new tactical capabilities and powerful new algorithms that have resulted in much improved towed array detection ranges in testing and actual fleet operations to date. Additionally, the ARCI program improves the commonality/interface among submarine systems while enabling future upgrades to be installed significantly quicker. An aggressive phased installation plan will provide continuously improved versions of ARCI across the entire submarine force by FY06.

Connectivity with other naval and joint forces is essential to effective decision-making, operations, and warfighting with submarines. Consequently, another major priority for the Submarine Force is the modernization of submarine communications capabilities. The submarine High Data Rate (HDR) antenna is the top C4I initiative and is the Navy's first multi-band dish antenna. The HDR antenna will provide worldwide high data rate satellite communications capability and enable access to a variety of systems including the secure, survivable Joint Milstar Satellite Program in the Extremely High Frequency (EHF) band and the Global Broadcast Service (GBS). All SSNs will have HDR antennas by FY04, thereby greatly enhancing SSN connectivity with the Battlegroup. Another development, the Multi-element Buoyant Cable Antenna (MBCA), will enable UHF transmit and receive capability while submerged at speed and depth. These initiatives are key to providing the data throughput necessary for network-centric operations in the 21st century.

From: Submarine Themes: Submarine Innovation, Submarine innovation, including an aggressive long-term technological development and insertion program, promises to dramatically improve submarine capabilities in the 21st century, Submarine Warfare Division, OPNAV Staff, 2001

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