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Royal Navy’s Submarine Command System Installation Programme Completes Ahead Of Time


Installation of the Submarine Command System Next Generation (SMCS NG) on HM Submarines Triumph and Tireless marked the early completion of the programme; the submarines are the final two of 12 to receive the updated command system.

The installation programme has been completed six months ahead of schedule, in large part because the BAE Systems-led team was able to reduce the time needed to make the conversion, enabling the installation to be carried out in normal alongside maintenance periods. The record was 18 days for HMS Vigilant’s conversion earlier this year.

Captain Pat O’Neill, leader of the Ministry of Defence’s Submarine Combat System Group, said, “This is a fantastic achievement. From speaking to operators and maintainers, I know how much they like SMCS NG. BAE Systems work is proof that we can get commercial off the shelf technology to sea quickly and support it affordably”.

A significant benefit from the use of commercial off the shelf technology is that over its life SMCS NG will cost 25% less to support than its predecessor, saving £22 million in the first 10 years.

SMCS NG is designed to handle the growing volume of information available in modern nuclear submarines and to control the sophisticated underwater weapons carried now and in the future. Its core capability is the assimilation of sensor data and the compilation and display of a real time tactical picture to the Submarine Command Team.

Paul Laity, Director of Naval Programmes at BAE Systems Integrated System Technologies, said: “SMCS NG has been a great success for BAE Systems and for the Royal Navy. We have improved the availability and operability of a mission critical system while reducing its cost to the customer. We have also proved that a system based on COTS hardware and software can deliver effective operational capability in a demanding naval environment”.

SMCS NG transfers the software applications proven on earlier variants of SMCS to a modern system architecture that uses mainstream PCs to provide the computer processing with Microsoft Windows as the software operating system. The design includes an Ethernet Local Area Network (LAN) and new multi-function consoles with two large LCD screens; it draws heavily on developments made by BAE Systems for the combat management systems for the Astute class submarine and the Type 45 destroyer.

SMCS NG is now fitted to all seven Trafalgar-class submarines, all four Vanguard class and one Swiftsure class. There are also systems ashore in training and integration facilities.


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