A Lockheed Martin led industry team has completed a successful critical design review for a system that will give U.S. Navy submarines real-time, two-way communications without requiring platforms to proceed to periscope depth. The review clears the way for the team to begin producing hardware and to deliver engineering design models in early 2011.
Currently, submarines must come to periscope depth to communicate with other ships, aircraft or shore facilities. This increases the submarine's detection vulnerability and may result in a large delay in tactical communications. The new system, which can be installed on all classes of submarines, is called Communications at Speed and Depth (CSD).
"The CSD program fills a major gap identified in the Undersea Dominance Roadmap," said Brent Starr, the Navy's CSD principal acquisition program manager. "Successfully completing this review is a key indicator that we have designed a robust family of systems."
Lockheed Martin will deliver three types of two-way communications buoys and associated equipment for installation aboard submarines and ashore. Two tethered expendable communications buoy systems -- for Iridium satellite and ultra high frequency communications -- will be launched from submarines. The third is an acoustic-to-radio-frequency gateway system that can be launched from submarines and aircraft. The $35 million contract was awarded to Lockheed Martin in January of 2009 and includes the production of buoys for development tests and operational assessments.
"The CSD systems will keep submarines connected to the Global Information Grid far beneath the water's surface, helping submariners remain safe and hidden from enemy radars," said Rod Reints, Lockheed Martin's senior program manager for CSD. "Submarines are most vulnerable when they must surface to use communication systems. This program eliminates that vulnerability."
The Lockheed Martin-led CSD team includes; Ultra Electronics Ocean Systems and ERAPSCO, a joint venture between USSI, Inc. and Sparton Corporation.