IAI ELTA, Hensoldt jointly develop submarine communication and surveillance system 

The system is capable of performing optical surveillance, detecting radar, and monitoring GPS, voice and other communications, the companies say 

The ICS system for submarines. Photo: IAI 

ELTA Systems, a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), and German defense firm Hensoldt Optronics announced Wednesday they are collaborating on an Integrated Communication and Surveillance (ICS) system for submarines. 

IAI said that the ICS, targeted for Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions, is a fully integrated system combining Hensoldt’s Optical Surveillance Optronics Mast OMS150 with ELTA’s SIGINT and SATCOM payloads.  

During the past decade, there is an emerging trend in which the submarine is no longer a "stand-alone" platform involved in predefined missions, but rather an integrated part of a naval task force. The demand is now for submarines to perform optical surveillance regardless of the time of day or weather conditions, monitor radar and communication transmissions, and gather intelligence. The resulting intelligence is sent through a secure tactical communication to a remote command.  These requirements have driven navies to procure more ISR sensors and high-reliability communication systems.

Typically, the sensors and communication systems would have to be installed on multiple masts, but ICS houses all the sensors within a single uniquely engineered mast to minimize the impact on the submarine's stealth signature, according to IAI.

IAI VP and CEO of ELTA Yoav Tourgeman said "As part of ELTA’s new strategy, we are ramping up our collaborations with global business entities by leveraging our advanced technological experience and know-how accumulated over decades of defense operations. This collaboration will bring value to our customers by offering a unique, cost-effective, compact and high-utility solution."

The director of sales for Hensoldt Optronics Maritime, Harald Hansen, stated, "Providing a single integrated mast solution will truly satisfy our customers who are searching to enhance their submarines’ capabilities while being sensitive to the limited amount of space available and retaining a high degree of stealthiness.”

The ICS can perform optical surveillance, detect radar, and monitor GPS, voice and other communications between ships, land platforms or airborne platforms. The data gathered in real time can provide the submarine's crew with vital information regarding the enemy’s exact location and current situation. It is equipped with a SATCOM and laser system for secure communications, according to IAI. 

The ICS will be displayed at the virtual booths of both IAI and Hensoldt at the Euronaval 2020 online exhibition.

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