Spoilt for Choice

The navy can choose from the latest Indian and global underwater weapons sensors

Jaison Deepak

The submarine is one of the most valuable weapons at sea both for tactical and strategic purposes. The lethality of the submarine as an offensive platform rests significantly on the effectiveness of its sensors and weapon suite, the induction of new submarines and upgrading of existing submarines during refits can ensure that they remain at the forefront of providing security to the sea lines of communication (SLOC).

underwater weapons sensors

Submarine Sensor Suite

The S-Cube integrated sonar suite equipping the six Kalvari (Scorpene) class submarines are perhaps the most advanced submarine sonar suite the Indian Navy possesses. “Thales Sonar portfolio is unique and it has successfully inducted the S-Cube Sonar Suite on Submarines that comprises bow, flank, distributed, towed, intercept and active arrays, self–noise monitoring, 3D MOAS, as well as associated functions. As an integrated system, the S-Cube provides situational awareness capabilities by offering instantaneous access to all sensors data. With a view to serve the Indian requirements, we would continue to offer advanced integrated Sonars and EW system for upcoming projects as well,” said Emmanuel de Roquefeuil, VP and Country Director – India, Thales.

Another major submarine system is the Naval Physical & Oceanographic Laboratory (NPOL) developed and Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) built USHUS sonar which is now a standard fit on the upgraded Sindhugosh (Kilo) Class submarines of the Indian Navy and the Arihant class submarines. The NPOL in 2017 delivered the USHUS-2 which is an upgraded variant of the USHUS. According to NPOL USHUS-2 is an integrated sonar suite which constitutes an active sonar, passive sonar, intercept sonar, obstacle avoidance sonar and underwater communications. The system provides classification of targets, contact motion analysis and automatic torpedo detection capabilities.

The Kalvari class sports the Safran Series 30 Search Mast System (SMS) a dual axis stabilised non hull penetrating optronic search mast unlike the previous generation periscopes which were maintenance intensive and less reliable due to mechanical complexity. The mast has a MWIR, a HD TV camera, low light camera, a laser range finder (LRF), Electronic Support Measures (ESM) and GPS.

Hensoldt Optronics has upgraded the Shishumar (HDW Type-209) class submarines with a combination of OMS-100/110 optronic mast and the SERO-400 direct view periscope. The dual-axis stabilised OMS 110 sensor package incorporates a high-resolution TV camera, a mid-wave thermal camera. The SERO 400 family uses direct view optics, providing an experienced observer with detailed recognition, especially with regard to colour fidelity and the recognition of coloured position lights, for example, over long distances. The binocular eyepiece also helps the observer to gain a certain spatial impression of the scene observed, which is not possible with any two-dimensional image display on a monitor. It encapsulates high performance direct view optics, TV camera, Laser Range Finder, antenna providing ESM/DF, V/UHF communication and GPS.

The Indian Navy had signed with Kollmorgen, now acquired by L-3, to provide optronic masts on the Sindhugosh class submarines as they come for refits. The new masts would provide TV camera, low light TV, IR camera, Electronic Support Measures (ESM), Direction Finding (DF) and communications.

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