BAE Systems Maritime Services has awarded a £7.5m ($11.5m) contract to Abaco Systems to support the upgrade of the UK Royal Navy’s Spearfish heavyweight torpedo.
As part of the deal, Abaco will provide its rugged embedded computing solutions, which will be used within the electronic system computer unit (ESCU).
The ESCU controls the Spearfish in deployment, offering advanced real-time signal processing of the torpedo’s onboard sonar to allow it to reach its intended destination.
It will also help networking to enable communication between the torpedo and the host submarine.
ESCU features 3U VPX power architecture and fourth-generation Intel Core i7 technology single board computers, which will offer control, tactical and DSP real-time processing. An ethernet switch will be used for communications and networking.
Abaco and BAE conducted a feasibility study to develop the prototype ESCU using 6U VME architecture, over a five-year period.
For deployment, the prototype was migrated to a 3U VPX platform to deliver more affordable and compact final solution.
The order forms part of a £270m contract received by BAE Systems from the UK’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) to upgrade the Spearfish.
According to BAE, the upgrade Spearfish Mod 1 will expand the life of the torpedo and improve safety through the introduction of an insensitive munitions warhead and utilisation of a single fuel system.
It will also help to provide more capable data links between the weapon system and the launching vessel.
Currently, the anti-submarine and anti-surface Spearfish torpedoes are used in the Trafalgar, Vanguard and Astute-class submarines, which were designed and built by BAE.