The United States Navy is readying its deployment of the latest Naval Defense system to intercept torpedoes aimed at aircraft carriers. The program named Surface Ship Torpedo Defense System (SSTD) has already undergone a number of preliminary tests and is slated to be deployed on its first operational ship the USS George H.W. Bush for advanced testing. Many of the components of the SSTD system have already been installed and tested on the USS George H.W. Bush however follow-up end to end testing is still required to ensure the functionality of cohesion between each component.
The SSTD system works by employing processors, sensors and a missile to track and intercept incoming torpedoes to a ship. The Program Executive Office of Submarines, Rear Admiral Dave Johnson, predicts that this technology can be deployed on all aircraft carriers in the naval fleet by 2035. The SSTD is expected to be latest addition to Quick Reaction Assessment aboard carriers and other ships.
Torpedoes have posed an intricate problem to naval defense systems since their invention WWI. Although a number of other systems are already employed such as Sea Sparrow missiles designed to intercept air to surface threats detecting threats under the waves poses many more challenges. Several problems persist when attempting to detect torpedoes including depth, launch distance and the type of torpedo launched. The current technology is designed to detect three primary torpedo types, straight running, acoustic homing, and wake homing torpedoes. Each kind operate at varying depths, create unique acoustic signatures and are designed to work more effectively for different types of ships.
The latest system will consist of a sensor (Torpedo Warning System Receive Array) which will be launched and towed from a ship that detects acoustic frequencies in the water which will process data received and send a warning signal to crew members if a potential threat is perceived. Once a signal is verified as a potential torpedo or hostile object a CAT (countermeasures anti-torpedo) is fired from the ship to intercept the incoming threat.
The SSTD has proven effective in identifying and deploying countermeasures against torpedoes in a matter of seconds. Smaller ships were involved in the testing of these systems initially which has spurred the Navy to employ this on their largest ships, aircraft carriers. The components which make up the SSTD systems have been derived from other interception technologies already in use however the Countermeasure Anit-Torpedo technology was developed recently for this system by the Pennsylvania State University Applied Research Laboratory. This facility was also credited to the creation of ATT (Anti Torpedo Torpedo) in 2006.
The Pennsylvania State University Applied Research Laboratory already developed the Counter-Torpedo Detection, Classification, Localization (DCL) system to identify varying types of torpedoes fired at a ship. Although the components of the SSTD are still classified it is expected that a similar system to the DCL will be one of the modules employed in the new defense system. Most of the U.S. Navy’s ships have already employed defense systems such as Sea Sparrow interceptor missiles, for air to surface threats, and Phalanx Close-in-Weapons Systems (CIWS), for surface to surface threats (such as speed boats) and with the latest addition to their defensive operations the SSTD is expected to counter submersible threats in the near future.Tags: defense systems, military technology