U.S. Navy's Virginia-class Block IV attack submarines to support fly-by-wire control and modular computing

GROTON, Conn. – The U.S. Navy has begun work on a new generation of attack submarines with never-before-seen weapons, fly-by-wire control, quieting technology, undersea attack drones, sonar, and communications networking, to emerge over the next 10 years or more. Kris Osborn at The National Interest reports.

May 14th, 2019
U.S. Navy's Virginia-class Block IV attack submarines to support fly-by-wire control and modular computing
U.S. Navy's Virginia-class Block IV attack submarines to support fly-by-wire control and modular computing
GROTON, Conn. – The U.S. Navy has begun work on a new generation of attack submarines with never-before-seen weapons, fly-by-wire control, quieting technology, undersea attack drones, sonar, and communications networking, to emerge over the next 10 years or more. Kris Osborn at The National Interest reports. Continue reading original article

The Military & Aerospace Electronics take:

14 May 2019 -- Plans for the new boats, referred to as a new fleet of Block VI Virginia-class attack submarines, include launching long-range precision strikes, delivering Special Operations Forces on secret high-risk attack missions, conducting ISR missions, networking with platforms and -- perhaps of greatest significance - operating undetected in high-threat waters.

From a technical or engineering perspective, modularity means building a boat with a software and hardware foundation able to adjust as needed. For instance, while attack submarines currently fire Torpedoes and Tomahawks, it is entirely feasible, if not likely, that new submarine-launched weapons will exist 10 years from now.

Yet another area of innovation quite likely to lay a foundation for Block VI includes Block IIIs fly-by-wire navigational controls; instead of using mechanically operated hydraulic controls, the fly-by-wire system uses a joystick, digital moving maps, and various adaptations of computing automation to navigate the boat. This means that computer systems can control the depth and speed of the submarine, while a human remains in a command and control role.

Related: L-3 KEO to build electro-optical photonics masts to aid stealthiness of Virginia-class submarine

Related: Navy asks Lockheed Martin to upgrade AN/BLQ-10 submarine electronic warfare (EW) system

Related: Lockheed Martin to build and upgrade electronic warfare (EW) to enable submarines to detect enemy radar

John Keller, chief editor
Military & Aerospace Electronics

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