Enhancing Royal Navy’s Astute-class submarines’ navigation

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As the largest and most powerful attack submarines operated by the Royal Navy, the Astute-class play a critical role in maintaining the UK’s undersea dominance. Equipping them with top-of-the-line sensors is thus critical to ensure a potent and stealthy undersea capability. Over the last decade, their upgrade to Exail’s Marins inertial navigation systems has resulted in remarkable improvements in accuracy, reliability, and operational efficiency.

Delivering unparalleled navigation performance for operational effectiveness

Exail technology provides the Royal Navy’s Astute-class submarines with significant operational advantages, particularly in navigation. Utilizing Fiber-Optic Gyroscope (FOG) technology and advanced algorithms, the Marins INS offers the highest positioning accuracy available. By continuously measuring the submarine’s acceleration and rotation, the system enables precise determination of its heading, roll, pitch, speed, and position. On the field, this leads to a better situational understanding of the environment, empowering crews to make well-informed decisions and adapt swiftly to changing circumstances, optimizing their operational strategies.

Moreover, the accurate positioning data enables precise targeting and maneuvering, reducing errors and increasing the likelihood of accomplishing assigned tasks successfully. Whether engaged in intelligence gathering, surveillance, or offensive operations, the Astute-class can execute their missions more effectively. “The Royal Navy (RN) Submarine Service has been pleased with the level of performance that the Marins INS offers. The system itself represents a significant capability, allowing us to further exploit navigational advantage to achieve operational success” states Lt Cdr. Christopher Polley, Submarine Fleet Navigation Officer for the Royal Navy.

Enhancing stealth for absolute discretion

Another key benefit of implementing Marins INS on the Royal Navy’s Astute-class submarines is enhanced stealth capabilities. Built upon silent solid-state FOG technology, Marins INS eliminates mechanical movements, minimizing wear and noise. This absolute discretion enables the submarines to maintain their stealth during underwater maneuvers, reducing the risk of compromise by adversaries and providing a significant tactical advantage, ensuring undetected critical operations.

Operating in an underwater environment with limited visibility and the constant need to maintain stealth, submarines require advanced navigation systems to ensure accurate positioning and successful mission execution.

Powering unmatched autonomy and reliability over time for extended mission endurance

The Astute-class also benefit from increased autonomy and unmatched reliability over time. By compensating for sensor biases and incorporating high-resolution algorithms, Marins INS minimizes errors and provides reliable position updates even in the absence of external references. Coupled with FOG technology’s robustness against disruptions, the Astute-class can now undertake extended missions independently, without relying on frequent navigation updates, enhancing their operational effectiveness and flexibility even in challenging scenarios.

Eliminating maintenance for cost-effective ownership

Marins INS is based on solid-state FOG system that does not involve any movement of mechanical parts. Operating as a single component and relying only on the motion of light, it is highly resistant to external disruptions and can operate in extreme environments. These features make it highly reliable, requiring no periodic maintenance, and resulting in a low cost of ownership for the Royal Navy. “From a maintenance perspective, it also offers more reliability at a component level than previously seen due to the solid-state design philosophy,” adds Lt Cdr. Christopher Polley.

A comprehensive and seamless integration

Besides its operational benefits, the integration of the Marins INS into the Astute-class submarines is seamless and comprehensive. The system can interface with other onboard systems, including sonar, and weapons enabling efficient coordination and synchronization of operations and contributing to the overall combat readiness.

In conclusion, the Royal Navy has greatly benefited from Exail Marins INS, with improved navigation, heightened stealth, and unmatched autonomy. This advanced technology has enhanced operational effectiveness and flexibility across flagship aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth, globally deployed Offshore Patrol Vessels, and Astute-Class submarines. The widespread adoption of Exail INS across these key platforms attests to the trust and satisfaction of the British Royal Navy. “We are deeply grateful to the Royal Navy for their trust and our enduring partnership. With utmost confidence in our Marins INS, we are committed to further enhancing the capabilities of the Royal Navy’s submarines, solidifying their undersea dominance, and upholding British national security,” says David Cunningham, Global Director of Partnership and OEM at Exail.

Exail Marins INS provide the Astute-class submarines with enhanced stealth, endurance and flexibility, giving them unrivaled freedom of action worldwide, in support of national and coalition operations.