sábado, 31 de maio de 2008

Submerged IDAS Missile Firing is Milestone for Undersea Warfare

A German navy submarine has achieved a major milestone in undersea warfare by successfully test firing a fiber-optically-guided IDAS (Interactive Defense and Attack system for Submarines) missile from a submerged position yesterday.

The test was performed by the U33, the third of Germany's ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems-built U 212 class of air-independent propulsion submarines, in the western part of the Baltic Sea May 29.

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Artist's impression of IDAS launch from a submarine. Image: Diehl

IDAS, developed by a consortium of Diehl Defence [the missile], TKMS (HDW) [submarine integration] and Norwegian company Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace [U 212 command & control system integration], showed a "convincing performance" during all phases of the flight, a statement from Diehl says.

"After updating the missile´s inertial system by the submarine's navigation system, the missile was ejected from the torpedo tube. Under water it spread its wings and rudders and started its engine to break through the water surface a few seconds later, ascending to a pre-planned altitude to move into a controlled flight stage," the statement says.

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The IDAS missile is about the same size as the ubiquitous AIM-9L Sidewinder from Raytheon (built under license by Diehl BGT Defence) and Diehl's IRIS-T missile (aft). Seen here on display at ILA 2008 in Berlin. Photo: Joris Janssen Lok

Differing from an operational scenario, the test was ended in a controlled glide flight. During the entire flight, data and images of a video camera were transmitted to the submarine via the fiber-optical wire.

According to Diehl, the test firing proves that IDAS can be employed from a submerged submarine. "All mechanical interfaces proved reliable while data transmission via optical wave guide functioned smoothly," the company says.

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Engineers at TKMS-owned Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (HDW) slide an IDAS test round into the launch container, which in turn fits inside a standard torpedo tube. Photo: HDW

High-ranking Navy officers from several interested countries witnessed the event as observers on an accompanying vessel.

With the test firing from a submerged submarine, the IDAS consortium, in a joint effort with the German Navy as well as the German defense procurement agency BWB, passed a further milestone in this program – nine months earlier than foreseen in the contract, Diehl says.

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Photo: Joris Janssen Lok

The next steps in the IDAS project consist of "drawing up outstanding phase documents and initializing the international development program."

IDAS is designed to allow a submerged submarine to attack an anti-submarine warfare helicopter (which is particularly vulnerable when it is deployed in a hover operating its active dipping sonar), or slow-flying maritime patrol aircraft.

The missile, launched from standard torpedo tubes, is also suited to perform a precision attack against a pinpoint position on a surface ship (such as the bridge or a helicopter on deck) or against a target ashore.

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