Home' Defence Technology Review : DTR MAY 2016 Contents 41
DEFENCE TECHNOLOGY REVIEW | ISSUE 20 | MAY 2016
With two new ship classes in the formative design stages, the RAN has an
opportunity to build upon the advantages of a truly common CMS across at
least four platform types. DTR reports.
Across the Fleet
of what is going on around the ship, as well as remote, sometimes
automated, control of the weapon systems.
The CMS is the heart of the combat system. The CMS collates
all of the information provided by each of the sensors on board
the host platform, as well as those in the wider force, to provide
the warfighter with a COP and the basis to make informed
situation assessments and tactical judgements.
Managing the combat system development cycle of a warship
carries considerable risk. Combat system integration requires
skilled engineering design with a detailed knowledge of the
platform’s capabilities and capacity. “The system and its operators
must react, engage and make critical decisions with precision
and in what can pose a life or death situation, this can’t be taken
lightly,” Bob Benbow, Combat Systems Engineering Manager for
Saab Australia told DTR.
The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) has a long history with CMS,
moving from radar displays and basic gun control during World
War Two through to the US developed Naval Combat Data System
(NCDS) and datalinks introduced in the early 1970s. These early
systems were known as ‘federated’ systems, with separate weapon
control and command (C2) consoles connected to achieve some
level of integration. With the introduction into service of the
ANZAC-class frigates in 1996, the RAN made a move to a fully
integrated, sovereign CMS, where all the weapons and sensors are
controlled through common command consoles and distributed
and multiple redundant networks. The Saab 9LV CMS on the
ANZACs has since been evolved to integrate a range of new
weapons and sensors to meet the emerging threats faced by the
Australian Defence Force (ADF) in a timely, cost-effective manner.
OODA loop is faster and more effective than the opposition, you
will have the advantage.
The combat system can be loosely defined as the systems of
a ship which deliver an effect via a ‘grid’ or common operating
picture (COP) such as various tactical data links, sensors, soft-kill
and hard-kill weapons. Typical combat system sensors include
surveillance radars, passive or active sonars, laser warning
receivers, and electro-optic and infra-red systems. Missile and
torpedo decoy systems, electronic jammers, chaff and flare
dispensers are the most common soft-kill weapons; while
missiles, cannons and guns (taking in everything from 127mm
naval guns to 7.62mm machine guns) the most common hard-
kill. Any fire-control radars and laser ranging systems may also
be included as part of the weapon system.
The modern combat system also integrates ship sensors and
weapons to increase the likelihood of defeating the threats faced
by a warship and the task group it could be protecting. Integrating
sensors and weapon systems into a combat management system
(CMS) provides ultimate situational awareness, a complete picture
AUSTRALIA IS UNDERGOING an unprecedented level of
shipbuilding and modernisation of its fleet, which presents both
challenges and opportunities. Much of the political and media
focus has been on the hulls and the cutting of steel but, while this
is important, the reality is that the most critical element of any
warship is the combat system. History has shown this can also be
the highest risk element of any ship or submarine project if it is
not managed effectively.
Combat systems integrate all the weapons, sensors and
intelligent processing to allow a warship, regardless of its role, to
observe, orient, decide and act, otherwise known as the OODA
loop. The basic principle of any warfare or operation is: if your
Offshore Patrol Vessel
THE CURRENT FLEET
Although NCDS was used in both the Perth-class DDG and later
Adelaide-class FFG class ships, they had completely different
weapon control systems. Interestingly, no two classes of RAN
warship had ever had the same CMS software, until the current day.
OPPOSITE PAGE: Two major
RAN surface ship classes
already share the 9LV Combat
Management System. Doing so
across the future OPV and Future
Frigate fleets also makes sense.
ABOVE AND RIGHT: The
Canberra-class LHDs are also
equipped with Saab’s 9LV
Combat Management System.
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