SELEX Elsag, a Finmeccanica company, has won a contract from the South Korean shipbuilders Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) to supply a suite of communications systems for the Royal Navy's Military Afloat Reach & Sustainability (MARS) tanker programme.
The systems will be installed on four new logistic support vessels to be built in South Korea by DSME and operated by the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.
The MARS communications system has been designed to make optimal use of commercial and military systems already proven on other defence programmes. For instance, a number of systems deployed on the RN Type 45 Destroyer will be adapted cost-effectively to meet the needs of the MARS tankers. These include SELEX Elsag’s Communications Management System, which provides for central configuration and control of communications assets.
IP communications technology will form the backbone of the communications system, developed from the company’s Sentinel system, which is now deployed on the UK MoD’s Falcon land communications system. The MARS Identification Friend-or-Foe solution is based on the one being supplied by SELEX Elsag for the RN Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers. The messaging system uses the company’s MPS2000 system deployed on most RN naval vessels.
SELEX Elsag is also providing topside electromagnetic modelling to optimise the placement of antennas for reliable communications and safe operations. Other key elements include the HF, VHF and UHF radio systems, tactical data links and a suite of audio visual recreational systems.
The MARS communications system is easy to use and is optimised to support UK maritime operations. It is modular and scalable, facilitating the rapid insertion of additional capability through life.
Selex Elsag describes the key benefits as including:
• Fast, flexible assignment of communications circuits and control of equipment characteristics;
• High levels of automation to reduce operator workload and enable crew multi-roling;
• Multi-level domain separation for voice, data and management traffic; derived from an in-service system to enable low risk security accreditation;
• Maximum use of standards-based solutions to aid scalability, capability insertion and obsolescence management, while exploiting supply chain efficiencies;
• Extensive use of commercial products to take advantage of commercial innovation and upgrade cycles.
Phil Robinson, UK Senior Vice-President at SELEX Elsag, said: ‘We have combined proven existing military and commercial technologies to develop a cost-effective, integrated and scalable solution. This will meet both current and future communications requirements, from initial deployment throughout the life of the MARS vessels.’