UK: BAE Systems Chooses iXSea MARINS Inertial Navigation Systems for HMS Audacious


After an exhaustive assessment, BAE Systems (Submarine Solutions) has chosen iXSea MARINS inertial navigation systems for HMS Audacious, the fourth boat in the UK Royal Navy’s Astute-class, nuclear-powered attack submarine construction programme. HMS Audacious will be equipped with two MARINS units.

iXBlue will also supply a third unit for preliminary test work at BAE Systems’ Astute Shore Integration Facility and provide engineering and project management support for the installation of the units on board the submarine. BAE Systems has options on further MARINS units for Astute-class boats five, six and seven.

MARINS was designed by iXSea to meet the growing need of the world’s navies for more accurate and reliable inertial navigation systems and represents the state of the art in strap-down, fiber-optic gyroscope technology. The military-specification unit outputs position, heading, roll, pitch, depth and velocities, and is perfectly silent. Drift is less than 1 Nm in 24 hours operating in pure inertial mode, i.e., without GPS input. It is compatible with a wide range of aiding sensors and can be up and running within minutes.

A spokesperson for BAE Systems said that the choice of the MARINS system was “in response to the UK Ministry of Defense’s challenge to provide a more affordable submarine and combat system.” The spokesperson added: “A design-for-cost-reduction programme resulted in several initiatives being identified that challenged the existing design requirements to provide a more affordable combat system. The selection of the MARINS inertial navigation system was based on its overall performance, reliability and through-life cost benefits. MARINS will provide a vital element of the combat and navigation system of the fourth Astute-class boat.”

The MARINS units for HMS Audacious are virtually commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS), though some modifications have been made to accommodate specific operational requirements.

David Cunningham, UK general manager, iXBlue, said, “MARINS satisfies the performance requirements met in previous Astute-class boats by markedly more complex and costly technology. The units also offer a variety of practical advantages. They have no moving parts or critical elements that deteriorate over time. Consequently, their reliability is high with no maintenance. They are also compact and lightweight, and unlike the systems generally used in submarines, they do not have to be installed in dedicated compartments. This not only leads to space savings, but also provides designers with more options on where to locate the inertial navigation system in the submarine.”

The contract to supply an inertial navigation system for HMS Audacious was won against competition from several highly respected companies and relied on meeting stringent performance criteria in the most cost-effective fashion possible. iXBlue is proud to have secured the contract and to be involved with BAE Systems and the Ministry of Defense in the drive to reduce the cost of defense procurement and support in this important area.


Source: iXSea, March 9, 2011