Feeds

Royal Navy trials 'paging system' for submarines

HMS VANGUARD +++ Please call French missile sub +++

High performance access to file storage

US arms behemoth Raytheon says that the Royal Navy has tried out its new Deep Siren satcomms "paging system" for submarines, and was very impressed.

The company quotes an unnamed UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) spokesperson as saying that Deep Siren is "the first step toward a transformational capability that will change the way we operate submarines in the future".

One of the great problems of submarines, particularly since nuclear power let them stay submerged for much longer periods, has been communicating with them. If a sub comes to a relatively shallow depth and streams a suitable antenna it can receive special low-frequency, low-bandwidth transmissions sent from dedicated shore stations. Otherwise the only option is for the sub to come to periscope depth and put up an antenna.

All this has meant that modern subs are normally only contactable at prearranged times, during which periods the sub is often more vulnerable to detection than it would otherwise be; and probably constrained in speed too. If a sub is running deep and/or fast, it probably can't be reached at all.

That was OK back in the Cold War, when missions didn't usually require a submarine captain to receive new instructions or information very often and a sub needed to stay well hidden from powerful enemy naval forces. But nowadays the lone-wolf submariners, if they're to be useful, need to be more reachable - and in a typical modern war the maritime opposition is negligible, so it's possible to relax somewhat on staying hidden.

Hence Deep Siren, a fairly basic piece of kit. The idea is that you drop a small buoy into the sea, somewhere within a hundred nautical miles or so of the sub's position. The buoy has Iridium satcomms and an acoustic transducer. Then you can send a message over Iridium to the buoy, which will pass it on acoustically through the water to the sub "at classified depths and speeds", according to Raytheon.

The latest trials referred to by the company were conducted by ships involved in the TAURUS 09 deployment, currently underway, in which the Royal Navy's amphibious task group is conducting exercises around the Indian Ocean.

It would, as the nameless Brit spokesperson says, be a big change in the submarine world if the undersea warships genuinely became reachable in the way that surface vessels and aircraft are. But, as the spokesbeing also says, this is merely a first step. Deep Siren is merely a one-way paging system: and acoustic through-water comms can be highly unreliable.

Furthermore, Raytheon don't really seem to be pushing it along very fast. The company says that it isn't even certified for use aboard aircraft yet. Dropping the Deep Siren buoys from patrol planes or naval helicopters would probably be the normal means of deploying them, so as it stands the system plainly isn't ready for prime time. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
Get your MOON GEAR: Auction to feature Space Race memorabilia
Keepsakes from early NASA, Soviet programs up for bids
New FEMTO-MOON sighted BIRTHING from Saturn's RING
Icy 'Peggy' looks to be leaving the outer rings
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.