The UK Royal Navy‘s third Astute-class submarine HMS Artful has conducted the first torpedo test firing using the Bae Systems-designed common combat system (CCS).

Carried out as part of Artful’s first combat capability trials, the firing tested the CCS’s capabilities to interpret sonar readings and launch an attack on a moving target using a practise weapon.

The CCS, which has been developed through the Astute Build Programme and is managed through a £50m contract with BAE, integrates different applications on a single computer environment, which saves space in the submarine’s hull.

“This command and control system will allow British submarines to adapt more quickly to changing mission requirements.”

Acting as a submarine’s digital brain, the CCS can collect and process data in bulk, even from Sonar 2076, allowing the navy to track the stealthiest enemy vessels and relay the information to the relevant authority, hence paving the way for important command decisions.

The CCS is incorporated with Thales-developed sonar processing features, and has been worked on by hardware provider Dell, Poole-based systems designers Aish Technologies, and cloud computing company VMWare.

The next-generation technology will be fitted into all the Astute and Vanguard-class submarines which are currently in service, as well as the future boats.

UK Defence Procurement Minister Philip Dunne said: "This command and control system, designed as part of an innovative partnership between defence and UK industry, will allow British submarines to adapt more quickly to changing mission requirements, making operations even safer and more efficient.

"It is a next-generation system, both highly capable and cost-effective, which can be installed right across the Royal Navy’s submarine fleets, thereby guaranteeing the best capability for the Royal Navy and the best value for money for the taxpayer. It is also yet another example of how our £178bn investment in equipment is giving our armed forces the best possible kit."

HMS Artful, which was officially handed over in December last year, will complete its combat capability trials in July this year.

Following the trials, it will undergo a period of maintenance and training to prepare for operations.

Image: Artful, Astute-class attack submarine. Photo: courtesy of Royal Navy.