Lockheed Receives $28.9M for A-RCI Sonar Upgrades
Lockheed Martin Corp. Maritime Systems and Sensors in Manassas, VA received a $28.9 million cost-plus incentive-fee/award-fee modification to previously awarded contract N00024-04-C-6207 for production of sonar upgrade spares kits and sonar system for SSGN Class Tactical Trident (2 systems) and SSN 774 Virginia Class (1 system and advance orders for another 2), respectively. The contract ties into the Acoustic-Rapid Commercial Off-The-Shelf Insertion (A-RCI) program.
What is A-RCI, and what does it do for the submarines?
A-RCI is a sonar system upgrade installed on the USA’s entire fleet, including SSN-688 Los Angeles, SSN-688I Improved Los Angeles, SSN-21 Seawolf, SSN-744 Virginia, SSGN Tactical Trident, and SSBN-726 Ohio Class submarines. It integrates and improves towed array, hull array, sphere array, and other ship sensor processing.
The Acoustic Rapid Commercial Off-the-Shelf (COTS) Insertion (A-RCI) AN/BQQ-10(V) Sonar System was actually initiated as Engineering Change 1000 to the AN/BSY-1 Combat System on SSN-688I improved Los Angeles Class submarines. The concept doesn’t replace the existing AN/BSY-1, AN/BQQ-5, and AN/BQQ-6 sensors on the subs – instead, it replaces central processors with modernized COTS personal computer technology and software installed in an open architecture.
Sometimes, it really is all about what you can do with it.
According to GlobalSecurity.org, these improvements provide expanded capabilities, particularly in littoral waters, for covert intelligence collection and surveillance, and covert insertion and support of Special Forces. This is especially apropos for both the SSGN Tactical Trident special operations subs and the Virginia class, which also has special forces insertion capabilities. Expanded capabilities for anti-submarine warfare were focused on diesel-electric submarines, covert mining, and covert strike of targets ashore. Again, covery strile of targets ashore is also a prominent part of the SSGN and Virginia Class’ missions.
Moore’s Law matters – according to the US Navy, a single A-RCI Multi-Purpose Processor (MPP) has as much computing power as the entire Los Angeles (SSN-688/688I) submarine fleet combined, and allows the development and use of complex algorithms previously beyond the reach of legacy processors. Specific software improvements included passive ranging, spatial vernier processing, full spectrum processing, dual towed array concurrent processing, low frequency active interference rejection, passive broadband, passive narrowband and passive detection and tracking processing, track management, on-board training, and port/starboard ambiguity resolution.
A-RCI’s open architecture confers other advantages as well, notably the capacity for faster, more economical, and more frequent hardware and/or software upgrades. The program expanded to provide improvements that could be back-fit into all nuclear attack (SSN) and ballistic missile (SSBN) submarines, totaling over 60 ship sets. The system is now known formally as the AN/BQQ-10 (V) Sonar, and has gone through four phases.
Lockheed Martin will produce two AN/BQQ-10(V) sonar system spares for SSGN Tactical Trident submarines, plus one full AN/BQQ-10(V4) system and economic order quantity material for two more for SSN-774 Virginia Class submarines. Work on this contract will be performed in Manassas, VA (44%); Portsmouth, RI (26%); Clearwater, FL (17%); Chantilly, VA (4%); Syracuse, NY (3%); Chelmsford, MA (2%); St. Louis, MO (2%); and Houston, TX (2%), and is expected to be complete by March 2008. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C issued the contract.