AP Labs to design custom electronics enclosures for Australian submarines

Officials at Raytheon in Sydney, Australia, recently contracted AP Labs experts to manufacture a new combat systems chassis for the Royal Australian Navy onboard two Collins-class attack submarines.

Aug 1st, 2001
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By John McHale

SAN DIEGO — Officials at Raytheon in Sydney, Australia, recently contracted AP Labs experts to manufacture a new combat systems chassis for the Royal Australian Navy onboard two Collins-class attack submarines.

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AP Labs engineers are responsible for the design and manufacturing of the rugged electronic enclosures to replace the current systems on board the Collins-class submarines.

"We have been very impressed with AP Labs' co-operation over the past few months," says Warren Latham, hardware engineering manager at Raytheon Naval Systems in Sydney. "Their design and simulation tools integrate seamlessly with our in-house software thus ensuring minimum design risk and easy information transfer."

The enclosures are engineered to fit into the space currently occupied by the RIM 100 CRT displays used in the Multi-Function Common Console and houses two or three VME 64x subsystems, a 21-inch flat panel, removable disks, power supplies, and a health monitoring system.

"It is a completely custom design," says Michael LaColla, eastern sales representative for AP Labs. It was designed from the ground up replace the nearly 20-year-old system currently on the submarines, he adds.

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While the enclosure may be a custom design, it is filled with commercial-off-the shelf (COTS) technology, LaColla says. The new system offers a big leap in technology performance a fraction of the cost of the original system, he says.

The health monitoring system tracks environmental conditions, power supply status, and cooling fan rotation data, AP Labs officials say. This data triggers alarm events and initiate an orderly shutdown of the system if necessary.

AP Labs will deliver electronic enclosures to Raytheon, which will then integrate the VME 64x boards and system software. The enclosure is designed to protect COTS electronics from the temperature, humidity, shock, and vibration conditions found on the Collins-class submarines.

The drip-proof feature will protect the COTS equipment from drip and spray at various angles. The enclosures are designed to meet MIL-STD-461 specifications. Deliveries will begin in October.

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AP Labs officials say they are using the success of this program to start expanding their presence in Australia. The custom design will most likely not become a standard product, company officials say. AP Labs custom design work makes up about 50 percent of their business, says a company spokesman.

For more information on AP Labs contact Jessica Grindle by phone at 858-546-8626, by fax at 858-546-0278, by mail at 5871 Oberlin Drive, San Diego, Calif. 92121, by e-mail at jessica@aplabs.com, or on the World Wide Web at http://www.aplabs.com.

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