Navy subs to get tactical updates through Deep Siren

Paging system plugs gap in underwater communications

The Navy has successfully tested an underwater communications system that allows submarines to communicate at speed and depth.

The Deep Siren acoustic communications system permits submarines to relay and share information while under water in a variety of operational environments. This was recently demonstrated during the Navy’s ICEX 2011 exercise, which took place north of the Arctic Circle, officials of Raytheon, which developed the system, said April 13. 

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Deep Siren is intended to fill a gap in the Navy’s underwater communications capabilities — the ability to receive tactical information while submerged. The system, which has been in development for some time, operates like a texting service to provide submarines with data in a short message format that is sent and received by software-defined acoustic modems located in disposable buoys launched by the submarine.

Raytheon officials noted that the system is a mature technology that has been successfully tested in a wide variety of oceanographic conditions. Deep Siren is part of a broader Navy effort to provide an underwater network for its submarine fleet.

For ICEX, Deep Siren demonstrated that it can communicate with submarines operating under sea ice. The system was used to help participating submarines meet at a base camp located on the ice sheet 150 nautical miles north of Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. Both submarines were directed to the location via Deep Siren transmissions from the camp.

The system was also used to help evacuate a seaman aboard the submarine USS New Hampshire when he became ill with appendicitis. Deep Siren was used to communicate the emergency and to help report the location of an area of sea ice thin enough to allow the vessel to surface.

Deep Siren has been successfully tested by the British Royal Navy in the Mediterranean, and the system is scheduled to undergo sea trials with the German and French navies later this year. The Canadian navy also is planning its own sea tests. Company officials said that another version of Deep Siren designed for use by U.S. Navy special operations forces has already undergone successful initial tests.

About the Author

Henry Kenyon is a contributing writer for Defense Systems.

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