An off-the-shelf software application has been chosen to manage the transfer of data to and from the Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) Collins Class submarines.
Italian defence prime Leonardo was awarded the contract to deliver information management software to six Collins-class submarines operated by the RAN. The contract, called Submarine Communication Information Exchange Management (SCIEM), is part of Australia’s Project SEA 1439 Phase 5B2 upgrade program. Leonardo will be providing its SmartIDMS software application, which is designed and manufactured in the UK and will allow RAN crews to upload and download data when the submarine connects to a network.
Submarines share information over computer networks but, because they spend a great deal of time deep underwater, they are cut off from their networks for long periods, Leonardo explained. To stay in touch, a submarine must rise to just below the sea surface (‘periscope depth’) in order to join the network and exchange data with the outside world. Traditionally, the data would be uploaded and downloaded in the order that it was stored, which has led to important information getting stuck in a queue behind bulky, low-priority files.
Leonardo said its SmartIDMS system optimises this process by intelligently choosing which information to send and receive first and which can wait, for example prioritising operating orders over personal emails. Different rules can be pre-set for different missions, so that during peacetime, for instance, improving crew member morale can be easily achieved by raising the priority of welfare communications with their friends and families.