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UDT 2011: Future submarines will require C4ISR upgrades

7th June 2011 - 13:10 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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The next generation of submarines will be required to carry additional C4ISR equipment in order to satisfy future operational requirements, according to Manfred Klein, senior VP for project development and research at Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (HDW).

Addressing delegates at the Undersea Defence Technology (UDT) conference in London, Klein described the need for additional equipment such as data link and communications technology as well as electronic warfare and an ability to cooperate with special forces (SF) to 'further enhance the operational spectrum of submarines'.

The latter, he said, would involve submarines becoming 'invisible transporters and supporters of combat diver operations', providing space for SF personnel and equipment.

Klein added that next-generation boats would be required to carry 'new weapons and sensors to participate in asymmetric situations' with submarines being used to operate as invisible reconnaissance units deep in enemy waters.

'There, they will need extensive communications and ESM outfits inboard and on masts with working space and accommodation for intelligence teams; [capability for] high-speed data transfers; enhanced optronic systems; and capability to operate drones underwater or in the air; and extended AIP endurance because of a necessity to stay longer in an area close to enemy posts,' he urged.

Additionally, Klein described the development of lithium batteries as being of 'major importance to submarine design', outlining endurance increases between 50 and 400 per cent and reduction in maintenance costs and cycles.

However, Klein warned that navies and industry should not forget the traditional role and capability of the submarine, which provided the 'best bang for the money'.

'We are seeing an increasing number of different missions but we cannot forget this old feature, which is an important part of the submarine,' he concluded.

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