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NUWC Division Newport’s Virtual Submarine available to industry, academia

By Jeffrey Prater, Public Affairs Officer | Oct. 18, 2017

NEWPORT, R.I. — The Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Division Newport‘s Virtual Submarine or “VSUB” is a set of submarine non-propulsion electronic systems including combat control, radio room, periscopes, antennas, sonar, and other systems as well as launchers, weapons, and unmanned vehicles that are connected via a secure campus network.

This unique capability allows NUWC Newport to configure its facilities to emulate any submarine platform in the fleet. The VSUB is a key enabler in support of test and evaluation, experimentation, integration, lifecycle support, and rapid prototyping of undersea warfare capabilities. Industry and academic institutions throughout the southeastern New England region and beyond are encouraged to use this unique tool for innovation as they partner with the Navy to advance the state of the art for submarine technologies.

In a recent all-hands communication, NUWC Commander Rear Adm. Moises DelToro said, “We are uniquely equipped to get faster because of our work with the fleet, but there’s certainly room for improvement, and we can’t do it alone. We want to create an “HOV” lane to get capabilities across the bridge faster to the warfighter, with room in the car for additional passengers from other government agencies, industry, and academic institutions. We’re doing this in a variety of ways, including refining existing technologies like the Virtual Submarine.”

NUWC’s objective is to optimize the systems for which it is responsible to support and enhance fleet mission execution. Partnering with industry and academia is paramount, and collaborating on technology development is the next logical step to increase naval capabilities.

“If you have an idea or something to collaborate on, we have the tools and experts to work with you to take your idea to the next level,” said Marie Bussiere, head of the Undersea Warfare Combat Systems Department at NUWC Newport. “We have to have collaborative partners.”

Following a recent National Defense Industry Association conference in Groton, Conn., held Sept. 19-20, attendees were invited to Newport for a tour of VSUB laboratories that featured the use of its newest addition — the Virginia Payload Tube Facility (VPTF). Visitors, including Rear Adm. Daryl Caudle, Commander, Submarine Force, Pacific Fleet, experienced a Virginia-configured Block III salvo of simulated Tomahawk cruise missiles. In the demonstration, the VSUB received mission data and tasking via tactical communications networks from a fleet node in Norfolk, Va., into the VSUB’s radio room and combat system where operators planned and executed an end-to-end strike of simulated missiles hosted in the VPTF.

Marshall Prouty, an engineer at General Dynamics Electric Boat, attended the demonstration and said, “It’s nice to see the hardware in person and to get away from the PowerPoint, to see these systems in isolation, which you can’t do when you’re touring a submarine.”

“It’s a new paradigm moving forward to get faster and get a longer reach for these platforms,” said Christopher DelMastro, head of the Platform and Payload Integration Department, when referring to the newly connected VPTF and the opportunities to explore large ocean interface capability.

For more information on the Virtual Submarine, contact John Bowdren at john.bowdren@navy.mil or James Broadmeadow at james.broadmeadow@navy.mil.

NUWC Division Newport, part of the Naval Sea System Command, is one of two divisions of the Naval Undersea Warfare Center. NUWC Division Newport’s mission is to provide research, development, test and evaluation, engineering and fleet support for submarines, autonomous underwater systems, undersea offensive and defensive weapons systems, and countermeasures. NUWC’s other division is located in Keyport, Wash.