USS Oklahoma City
by Will Canto
|Firing Point Procedures, Sierra One,
ADCAP torpedo, Tube 2, barks Lieutenant Brian Roth, Officer of the Deck on the USS
Oklahoma City (SSN-723). Hes driven the ship to the optimum firing position against
a live target on the Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Center (AUTEC) range in the
LTJG Wade Cole, the Junior Officer of the Deck (JOOD), directs final adjustments and announces, Solution Ready.
Ship Ready, Roth confirms, properly continuing the litany prior to torpedo launch.
Weapon Ready! returns FT3(SS) Mike Brodbeck.
Satisfied all is well, Roth orders Shoot on generated bearings.
Set standby shoot!
This is a familiar scene for many submariners, but today on Oklahoma City, theres a difference. The submarine is not launching an exercise torpedo, nor is its crew practicing only on the ships on-board test equipment. Oklahoma City is plugged into a digital network established by engineers and scientists at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Newport (NUWCDIVNPT) that permits real-time connectivity among submerged submarines on the AUTEC range and test facilities on the beach in the Bahamas and Newport, Rhode Island. Oklahoma City, submerged in the Bahamas, has just launched a virtual torpedo, which runs inside the mind of a computer and whose guidance hardware is on a test stand at NUWCs Weapons Analysis Facility (WAF) in Newport. After launch, the torpedos simulated location and corresponding wire-guidance telemetry data are transmitted across the network between the WAF at Newport and the Oklahoma City. The still submerged Oklahoma City sees the torpedo in real-time, thus allowing the generation of wire guidance commands on board to compensate for target evasion.
Oklahoma Citys first test shot
demonstrated the full capability of this system. Roths shot on Coles solution
was slightly off, but the team properly analyzed the torpedo run after launching, and FT
Brodbeck inserted steering commands to turn the weapon around, and acquire and hit the
target. Roths watchsection successfully launched two more virtual
torpedoes, thus completing the first test period. LT Brent Rodgers had the conn for
the second series. His watchsection, guided by his JOOD, LTJG Chris Hoehn,
Bringing Modeling and
Simulation to the Fleet
Thus, SETI expands the applications of high fidelity simulation capabilities far beyond the walls of the laboratory, enhancing the reusability, accessibility, and versatility of these land-bound simulators. By coupling an operational SSN to modeling and simulation assets, the Fleet can become an at-sea contributor to the life cycle support of existing weapons and an integral part of research and development for new weapon technology.
How it Works
Atlantic Undersea Test and
Evaluation Center (AUTEC)
Exercise Communication Center (ECC)
An OKLAHOMA CITY Officer of
the Deck directs his watchsection
Weapons Analysis Facility (WAF)
Efforts are already underway to apply the already developed Mk 48 ADCAP virtual torpedo concept to airborne platform lightweight torpedoes launched from aircraft, such as the Mk 46 and Mk 50. A partnership between NUWCDIVNPT and the Naval Aviation Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) Patuxent River, Maryland, is currently addressing the benefits of air-dropped virtual torpedoes.
The first test of this capability will have a live Light Airborne Multi-Purpose System (LAMPS) helicopter launching virtual torpedoes against simulated targets. Deployed on surface ships, LAMPS helicopters perform their mission by localizing submerged threats, downloading weapons presets into air-launched torpedoes, and dropping the weapons to find and destroy the target. The scenario provides for real-time testing of probability of kill, insertion of countermeasures by the threat, simulation of threat evasive maneuvers, and test of LAMPS re-attack capabilities. This same technology can be applied to other air ASW assets, with substantial reuse of our current capabilities for future platforms.
SETI is an example of how Navy support organizations are harnessing the electronics revolution to improve the quality and flexibility of at-sea training, while reducing costs. It allows leveraging laboratory resources created for long-term research and development to support other applications, such as training and readiness. Continuing improvements in high performance computers allow engineers to simulate complex ocean environments and predict sound-ray paths with ever greater accuracy. Advancements in communication network architectures for simulation, such as DoDs High Level Architecture (HLA), are supporting high-speed transmission and integration of data from an array of platforms, sensors, and modeling and simulation devices. Future developments in data processing and transmission, with improved human-computer interface, will undoubtedly change the way sailors train to fight their ships and aircraft. Twenty-first century sailors are likely to train more efficiently with the aid of virtual systems, allowing them to stay-up on their warfighting skills, instead of working-up for deployments as we do today.
Will Canto is the project manager of the SETI system at NUWC, Newport.
Underwater Acoustic Telemetry
The SETI Virtual Torpedo Program makes use of a growing body of techniques for underwater acoustic digital communications that have been under study for several decades in both academia and industry. Specifically, AUTEC uses the NUWC-developed Underwater Digital Acoustic Telemetry (UDAT) modem system to provide robust bi-directional communications between the facilitys Command/Control Center ashore and submerged submarines on the range. At the transmitting end, a modem (modulator-demodulator) transforms digital data streams into acoustic signaling waveforms that are transmitted through the water to a waiting receiver. There, a second modem converts the acoustic signals back into digital data. On submarines at AUTEC, the incoming acoustic telemetry signals are received on the WLR-9 sensors, while outgoing data is transmitted on the broadband low frequency transducer that also serves as the standard range pinger for acoustic tracking.
Using acoustic signals with carrier frequencies between 10 and 20 kilohertz, data rates on the order of 900 -1800 bits per second are routinely achieved at 10,000 yards in deep water.