The latest PC-based variant of the Submarine Command System (SMCS) supplied by BAE Systems will soon be fitted throughout the whole Royal Navy submarine fleet.
Following the successful installation of SMCS NG (Next Generation) in HMS TORBAY in 2004, the Ministry of Defence has placed two further contracts with BAE Systems to extend the fit out to all eleven Vanguard, Trafalgar and Swiftsure submarines that will continue to run beyond 2008. The move to commercial, off-the-shelf (COTS) technology will offer the MOD the potential of reducing costs by up to £25 million over the life of the system.
In addition to the systems for Vanguard, Trafalgar and Swiftsure submarines, the contracts also include three systems for shore installations to be used for training and testing. BAE Systems through its Integrated System Technologies (Insyte) business has also supplied the related Astute Combat Management System (ACMS) for the three new Astute class submarines.
The total value of the two SMCS NG contracts, placed in November 2004 and April 2005 is £24.5m.
The contract which includes a five-year comprehensive support service, has been placed by the Attack Submarines Integrated Project Team (IPT) working in partnership with the Submarine Support IPT.
The decision to use commercially available hardware and software whilst migrating to an open systems architecture will deliver major through-life cost savings without compromising system performance. SMCS NG software is issued as a single, ‘fits-all’ release that is configurable for the sensor and weapon fit of each submarine. This eliminates the duplication of effort that occurred previously when introducing new capability, which a separate version of software had to be produced for each class of submarine in which SMCS is fitted. A series of annual software upgrades will also deliver generic open interfaces to SMCS. This open systems approach will make it much easier to introduce new capability when it is required by the MOD.
The obsolescence issues associated with COTS hardware and software are addressed within the scope of the support service. Periodic technology refreshes are planned which will keep the system up to date.
Captain Ian Hughes, Project Leader for the Trafalgar Class Update Programme and SMCS NG within the Attack Submarines IPT in the DPA, said, ‘Although the driver to move to the latest technology was the potential for whole life cost savings, there is also the added benefit that any new capability could be deployed more quickly into the combat system including from innovative third parties.’
Captain Jay Hart, Deputy Team Leader for the Submarine Support IPT in the DLO, said. ‘The shift to COTS with an innovative support solution is expected to deliver significant savings in the through-life costs of SMCS.’
BAE Systems is an international company engaged in the development, delivery and support of advanced defence and aerospace systems. BAE Systems has major operations across five continents and customers in some 130 countries. The company has more than 90,000 people and generates annual sales of over £13 billion through its wholly-owned and joint venture operations.
BAE Systems to Supply Next Generation Submarine Command System to Royal Navy