Reliable submarine communication TactiCall goes under water

Modern submarines are part of an intricate internal network of different technologies, platforms, systems and equipment. What does it take to get the communication to work smoothly on board the world´s most modern submarine, the Saab Kockums A26?

In 2022 the world's most modern submarine, Kockums A26, sneaks into Swedish waters for the first time - equipped with fully integrated Stirling AIP systems. This allows it to stay submerged for several weeks undetected, yet still able to communicate without surfacing.

"A submarine is a complex communication network. One of the answers is to put all systems into one interface inside a fully IP-based infrastructure. You have to get complete control of and fast access to all internal as well as external communication networks and channels. For the 26 crew members on board the 62 meter long submarine, internal communication is a necessity in order to handle day-to-day operations, carry out general announcements, issue emergency alarms and give orders, in messages or live voice, either point to point or through the public address system, says Dennis Olesen, TactiCall Product Manager within Saab.

The communication system on board the A26, TactiCall, enables operators to manage all communication from any operator console on board. The system collects all communication media and simplifies communication tasks in daily operations as well as in critical situations. It is platform independent and allows for seamless integration into the management and combat system of the A26. The users can seamlessly connect voice and data communication between different networks, radios, frequencies and hardware.

 

TactiCall HMI interconnects old and new systems across platforms and technology.

A role-based login system allows access to personal communication setup from any console or position, giving fast access to predefined workspaces regardless of current position on the vessel. This essentially provides free seating if relocation is required.

Early submarines surfaced and raised an antenna above sea level to be able to communicate with the outside world. When raising an antenna above the surface of the water, a submarine is most vulnerable to detection by immediate threats. Nowadays submarines have the capability to communicate without surfacing.

"The TactiCall solution for A26 will be adapted to communication in a submarine. This involves prepackaging of communication for fast distribution during short surface runs and radio silence functionality for stealth. Telescopic antennas allow communication while remaining submerged. TactiCall then sets up the "communication chain" completely and carries out a test using a dummy antenna. Once complete the real antennas are used," explains Toke Bohm Veng, Project Manager for the A26 TactiCall installation from Saab´s Support and Services business area.

In 2022 the world's most modern submarine, Kockums A26, sneaks into Swedish waters for the first time. One of the most well-known and proven innovations as to why A26 submarines have the best underwater endurance is that they are equipped with fully integrated Kockums Stirling AIP systems (air-independent propulsion). This allows A26 submarines to stay submerged for several weeks undetected – yet still able to communicate without surfacing.

Saab has delivered Integrated Communication Solutions all over the world since the mid-1980s. In Sweden, the ICS2000 system, the earlier generation of TactiCall, is installed on Visby Class, Stockholm Class and Karlskrona. Saab was part of project Viking which was the predecessor to A26 (Viking was cancelled and Sweden/Kockums continued with A26) and during A26 design Saab has delivered information for ICS solutions, initially for ICS2000 and later TactiCall.

 

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