Navy upgrades attack subs with COTS processors

When U.S. Navy leaders faced the task of upgrading their Los Angeles class (SSN 688) attack submarines to meet more stringent readiness levels, they chose a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) approach for the critical sonar processing systems.

When U.S. Navy leaders faced the task of upgrading their Los Angeles class (SSN 688) attack submarines to meet more stringent readiness levels, they chose a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) approach for the critical sonar processing systems.

The need for the upgrade was particularly critical. Although these boats now average older than 20 years, they will represent more than two-thirds of the Navy`s attack submarine capability by the year 2015. Also, by upgrading the 688s now, Navy officials will give them comparable combat capabilities to the New Attack Submarine, which is due to go into production in 1998.

The COTS computers are ruggedized versions of the RACE line of Mercury Computer Systems Inc. of Chelmsford, Mass., with triple the mean time between failure (MTBF) of current onboard computers. They are tied into a system with two Fibre Channel boards developed by Atlantic Aerospace Electronics Corp. of Waltham, Mass., to interface with Mercury`s RACEway Interlink

Sea trials scheduled for this year will determine which of the Navy`s attack submarine fleet will receive the upgrades. Also, the open system architecture approach will permit the Navy to insert new technology elsewhere in the subs as it becomes available. - J.R.

For more information, contact Mercury Computer Systems Corp. by phone at 508-256-1300, or on the World Wide Web at http://www.mc.com.

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