Monday, September 29, 2008

HMS Turbulent completes major comms upgrade

HMS Turbulent completes major comms upgrade

An Equipment and Logistics news article
29 Sep 08

The Trafalgar class attack submarine HMS Turbulent has left Devonport Naval Base following a major refit which has provided the vessel with some of the most advanced communications links in the Royal Navy.

Several key upgrades, along with routine service and maintenance, were incorporated in the fifteen month long refit, part of the Warship Support Modernisation Initiative (WSMI), delivered by Babcock Marine, which will extend the submarine's operational life by two years.

An upgrade to the communications system will significantly improve interoperability with allied forces on deployed operations and newly installed IT systems will provide ship to shore connectivity when she is in port.

The IT systems inside the submarine have also been upgraded with the installation of the Defence Information Infrastructure (Future) (DII(F)) network onto submarine computers which provides a common communications platform across the MOD.

Minister for Defence Equipment and Support, Baroness Ann Taylor, said:

"This project is an important investment in the submarine fleet, equipping the crew with the latest technology. This not only facilitates operations, but also provides links back to land for those serving in the unusual conditions aboard a submarine which can give a real boost to morale.

"Turbulent's return to operational duties is key to the delivery of the high readiness attack submarine force and is an example of how we work with industry to provide the front line with the equipment and capabilities it needs."

Alasdair Stirling, Director of Defence Equipment and Support's In-Service Submarines team, said:

"Effective communications are one of the most challenging aspects of submarine operations and effective, up to date technology is vital. The upgrades that we have installed have made HMS Turbulent one of the best connected submarines in the Navy.

"She has also been fitted for the latest Tomahawk Block IV cruise missile which can fly a third further than its predecessor, hitting targets 1,000 miles [1,609km] away with pinpoint accuracy. It can also be retargeted in flight, and can relay images to aid battlefield intelligence gathering - it's a significant upgrade to the boat's combat ability."

Devonport's dedicated maintenance facilities are managing a busy programme of maintenance, currently hosting two Trafalgar class submarines, HM Ships Tireless and Triumph, for major service and repair programmes, as well as several major surface ship support projects.

HMS Turbulent is one of seven 5,200 tonne Trafalgar class nuclear-powered submarines. She entered into service in 1984. The class is based at HMNB Devonport, in Plymouth. The 84m long Trafalgar class boats are armed with Spearfish torpedoes and Tomahawk cruise missiles. They carry 130 crew and can remain submerged indefinitely. The reactor is refuelled once during the boat's service life.

Upgraded systems/enhancements include:

Communications Upgrades;
IT system upgrade;
Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM) upgrade to Block IV;
Improvements to Sonar equipment;
Improvement to Command System;
Enhancements to the Weapon Discharge System.

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