Thursday, October 27, 2005

Exciting Submarine "Starship": USS Virginia (SSN-774)


Bubblehead posted his friend's exciting, partial description of a below decks tour on the most sophisticated submarine we are likely to know much about for some time. It has even drawn an excited response from Rob, our active duty RO, who says "It's like a starship, though...pilot/ copilot like helm/ops, OOD has a viewscreen (in essence), touch screens, PDA logs, all info on computer. Wow, next they won't surface for perstrans, they'll just beam 'em out..."

No one will have actual belowdeck photos for us before Bubblehead will, but if you want a bit of conceptual assistance to help you visualize, there are some 'generalized', unclassified pieces scattered about already. What does a photonic mast look like (see photo at left)? The Virginia Class submarines have two Kollmorgen AN/BVS-1 Photonic Masts, rather than optical periscopes. The non-hull penetrating Photonic Masts (fairwater enclosed) include LLTV (low light TV), thermal imager and laser rangefinder. The mast is the Universal Modular Mast developed by Kollmorgen and its Italian subsidiary, Calzoni.

The UNIVERSAL MODULAR MAST (UMM) integrates optronics, with communications and MilSatcom, high data rate modem, ESM, EW, DF, GPS, Communications Antennas, voltage sensor, thermal imaging , as well as "special mission" stuff.

For a generalized (unclass.) drawing of the Pilot and co-Pilot stations, various displays, etc. between frames 24 and 36, in the Command and Control Center (CACC) go here (and turn to page 3 of 10) of the pdf file.

Interesting thing about the 19 inch (could even be 20.4") displays mentioned: The color displays utilized for AN/UYQ-70 consoles have special magnetic field protection which enables them to operate even in the presence of high magnetic fields. Good idea.

While hunting this stuff (all publicly available), also came across a surprising photo of the Advanced Seal Delivery System (ASDS). That is the stealthy mini-combatant sub which delivers Navy SEALs from mother subs within high threat environments.

Had a real nice color layout drawing of Virginia's CACC, but it disappeared mysteriously and am guessing it was not for publication.

2 Comments:

At 28 October, 2005 09:38, Blogger Alex Nunez said...

Hey Vigilis,

If I'm not mistaken, one of the recent sub documentaries on either the Discovery, History, or Military Channel showed the CACC from USS HAWAII (I think) as her crew trained in it while the rest of the boat was under construction. I wish I remembered the title of the program.

The flatscreens and all the other high-tech goodness was there to see, and it was as impressive as the description in Bubblehead's post.

Most impressive to me was the fact that the Virginia-class's modular construction allows the crew to train in the actual CACC that will eventually be part of the boat.

Awesome.

 
At 30 October, 2005 09:35, Blogger Bubblehead said...

Vig -- The Navy did just release some old pictures of belowdecks on Virginia, just not of the control room. I blogged about them here.

 

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