Australia brings in Leonardo for submarine information management software upgrade

The Australian defense department has contracted Leonardo to deliver its information management software for the upgrade of the Royal Australian Navy’s Collins-class submarine fleet.

The contract, called ‘Submarine Communication Information Exchange Management’ (SCIEM), is part of Australia’s Project SEA1439 Phase 5B2 upgrade program.

Leonardo said it would be providing its SmartIDMS software application which will allow Australian Navy crews to upload and download data in a sophisticated, managed way when the submarine connects to a network.

Like most military vessels, submarines share information over computer networks. However, because they spend a great deal of time deep underwater, they are cut off from their networks for long periods.

To stay in touch, a submarine must rise to just below the sea surface (‘periscope depth’) in order to join the network and exchange data with the outside world. Traditionally, the data would be uploaded and downloaded in the order that it was stored, which has led to important information getting stuck in a queue behind bulky, low-priority files.

As explained by Leonardo, the SmartIDMS system optimizes this process by intelligently choosing which information to send and receive first and which can wait, for example prioritizing operating orders over personal emails.

Different rules can be pre-set for different missions, so that during peacetime, for instance, improving crewmember morale can be easily achieved by raising the priority of welfare communications with their friends and families, Leonardo said.

The SmartIDMS is designed and manufactured in the UK.

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