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Koç Bilgi ve Savunma Teknolojileri A.Ş Strategic Supplier of REİS Class Type 214TN Submarines

Issue 98

Koç Bilgi ve Savunma Teknolojileri A.Ş (KBS) was established in 2007 by Koç Holding to develop critical technologies and to provide national and indigenous system solutions for the Defense Industry. The company has been operating with a focus on naval platforms electronic systems, underwater acoustics systems, and command & control (C4ISR) information systems since its establishment. KBS is one of the strategic suppliers of REİS Class Type 214TN Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) Submarines currently under construction at Gölcük Naval Shipyard Command under the New Type Submarine Project (NTSP). 

The first vessel of the REİS Class Type 214TN Submarines, the TCG Piri Reis (S-330) was launched on December 22, 2019. As of February 2020, the outfitting activities of the TCG Piri Reis Submarine are continuing at drydock; the submarine is expected to be commissioned by the Turkish Navy in 2022 following the Factory Acceptance (FAT), Harbor Acceptance (HAT) and Sea Acceptance (SAT) Tests respectively. 

Koç Bilgi ve Savunma Teknolojileri A.Ş, which has been working in the New Type Submarine Project since 2011, has developed and started to deliver five critical sub-systems for REİS Class Type 214TN Submarines, including:

Torpedo Countermeasure System, 

Sonar “Beacon” System - “Pinger”, 

PC Network System (Ship Integrated Information System), 

Breathing Air Monitoring System (BAMS) and

Torpedo Engagement Modelling and Simulation (TEMS) software,

Within this framework, as of February 20, 2020, the deliveries of the Torpedo Countermeasure System (TCMS) and Torpedo Engagement Modelling and Simulation (TEMS) software for the 3rd submarines, the Breathing Air Monitoring System (BAMS) for the 4th submarine and the Sonar “Beacon” System and the PC Network System for the 5th submarine have been completed. The Torpedo Countermeasure System (TCMS), developed for Type 214TN Submarines, is a passive torpedo Detection, Classification and Localization (DCL) System software that processes data from the submarine’s side-scan and towed sonars without transmitting acoustic signals. Using sophisticated signal processing techniques, this system can detect incoming threats against the submarine and counter them with a combination of recommended maneuvers (different avoidance maneuvers can be employed depending on the torpedo type) and expendable countermeasures. The TCMS can use expendable torpedo countermeasure systems consisting of both decoys as well as static and 5th generation mobile devices against active and passive torpedo threats. In line with the “domestic contribution” vision of the Presidency of Defense Industries (SSB), KBS has developed the Torpedo Counter-Measure System with a high national contribution to work compatibly with the ISUS-90/72 Integrated Underwater Command and Control System (IUCCS) used in the Type 214TN Submarines. Additionally, Decision Support Software, which determines the most appropriate tactic against the detected torpedo threat and executes it automatically when required, was also developed by KBS and was successfully integrated into the ISUS-90/72 Combat Management System (CMS). For the success of the TCMS, it is vital to create threat and tactical databases during the mission planning phase on the land and to program the jammers/decoys according to the mission. All software and hardware units (Torpedo Engagement Modelling and Simulation - TEMS software, Tactical Development Station, Launcher Interface Test Equipment and all Human Machine Interface - HMI software) used for this purpose were developed by KBS and delivered to ThyssenKrupp Marine System (TKMS), the main contractor of the program. With its success in the Torpedo Countermeasure System, KBS attracted the attention of the Main Contractor TKMS; and thus, it started to take a more significant role in the Project by making four more sub-systems. TKMS also asked KBS to meet their infrastructure-related needs and included the company on their list of qualified subcontractors in this regard.

The second sub-system delivered by KBS under the New Type Submarine Project was the Sonar Beacon System, an acoustic system that allows locating the submarine when it becomes unable to function. It is vital for a submarine to report its location to the surrounding ships and the rescue vessels precisely in the event of an accident. The Sonar Beacon System developed for this purpose works as a pinger in case of emergencies and emits a sonar signal. Since the Sonar Beacon System is a piece of essential vital equipment, submarines with an inactive Sonar Beacon System or without a Sonar Beacon System are not allowed to dive. Sonar Beacon Systems of foreign origin are used in all submarines of the Turkish Navy. KBS produced the Sonar Beacon System with 100% national capabilities and eliminated external dependency on this matter. Furthermore, the Sonar Beacon System can compete with its competitors in the global market, as it does not have any recurring costs anymore. Operating independently from the submarine’s electrical system, the Sonar Beacon System can broadcast in the 9 kHz Low-Frequency and 37.5 kHz High-Frequency bands automatically or manually thanks to its battery. With the low-frequency transmission, the submarine can be detected from very long ranges, while the high-frequency transmission allows the submarine to be detected from close range with high precision. The Sonar Beacon System, which has a lifetime of over 850 hours and does not need a battery replacement for five years when not in use, has Low and High-Frequency Transducers (sonar wet-ends) with a Navy Type Piezoelectric ceramic infrastructure.

Another subsystem study in which KBS takes part under the New Type Submarine Project is the PC Network System, which is the integrated information system of the submarine. In this framework, the company provides all the integrated information communication infrastructure and hardware. KBS will deliver a total of seven PC Network Systems, six for submarines and one for Ground Test Systems, within the scope of the PC Network System Project, which was initiated at the beginning of 2016. The PC Network System provides the electrical, physical, and functional integration requirements of the intranet, internet, server-client structures, and printer needs on the submarine.  

The Breathing Air Monitoring System (BAMS) monitors and examines the gas concentration inside the submarine compartments that can affect both the crew and machinery. The Breathing Air Monitoring System is an independent system and automatically controls the gases in the submarine atmosphere in any operation. The system is developed to monitor the inhaled air components (hydrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfate, chlorine and refrigerant gases, etc.) inside the submarine and to warn the sailors when the air components have exceeded the threshold value and reached a dangerous level. The automatically operated Breathing Air Monitoring System consists of two independent sub-systems, namely, Analysis System and Sensor system. The Analysis System performs gas analysis of the air drawn from different parts of the submarine. The Analysis System has two pumps that take gas samples from 18 different points inside the submarine for measurement. Results, alerts, status signals, and central error reports are simultaneously displayed on the screen by the PLC (Programmable Logic Controller) according to the measuring point on the submarine. The Sensor System, which is located in a reinforced cabined, provides constant gas measurement values of the air inside the submarine through the sensors placed in 10 different compartments and displays the results via a touch screen on the cabinet according to the measuring point by the central PLC. The Breathable Air Monitoring System has been tested according to the environmental conditions applicable to submarine platforms.

In addition to the four critical subsystems mentioned here, KBS develops various test equipment/devices within the scope of the New Type Submarine Project and delivers them to TKMS; thus, the volume of cooperation with TKMS is increasing day by day. On the other hand, the participation of KBS in Sonar Beacon System and PC Network System Projects, which was initially planned to be foreign sourced under the New Type Submarine Project, was handled within the framework of domestic procurement activities carried out by STM, thereby providing a significant growth to the country.

... Indigenous Solutions of KBS for AKYA National Heavyweight Torpedo and Qualification Test Process

The biggest challenge in the production of underwater systems, such as a heavyweight torpedo, is the carrying out of qualification tests in a marine environment with indigenous resources and capabilities. This is a complicated process that requires intensive effort and experience and may involve hundreds of trials. 

Within the scope of the AKYA National Heavyweight Torpedo Development Program, the Phase-I (Development Phase) Agreement between the SSB and Main Contractor Roketsan was signed on May 8, 2009, and the Phase-2 (Industrialization and Pre-production Phase) Agreement was signed in July 2016.  The last torpedo launch test that was carried out on December 20, 2019 as part of the ongoing qualification test process. During the qualification test, an AKYA Torpedo with a live seeker was launched for the first time from a 533mm torpedo tube located on an underwater test platform at a depth of 40m. KBS’s acoustic buoys, equipped with smart embedded systems, are being used in the qualification testing phase of the AKYA Heavyweight Torpedo. The Underwater Acoustic Tracking System (UATS), which is developed by KBS detects and records active acoustic signals emitted by the pingers on underwater platforms while they are on a cruise, through the hydrophones located on the intelligent buoys. The system enables real-time tracking of target trajectory, transmitted to the monitoring platform, by transferring target detection and buoy position data to monitoring and control platform.

Under the AKYA National Heavyweight Torpedo Program, Roketsan will develop the warhead and guidance system, Meteksan Defense will develop the sonar transducer arrays (sonar wet end), and Koç Bilgi ve Savunma Teknolojileri A.Ş (KBS) will develop the Wake Sensors, Torpedo Test Range Underwater Detection and Positioning System, Acoustic Signal Generators, and the Underwater Acoustic Models (to verify the systems and software to be developed under the program).

The prototype of the Acoustic Wake Detector (AWD) developed by KBS for the AKYA National Heavyweight Torpedo was first exhibited during the IDEF 2017 Fair. The increasing population of air bubbles due to the motion of the surface target is the primary physical explanation of the so-called “wake.” Moving surface targets generate a relatively long tracking wake. The physical constitution of surface target wakes brings into play several processes as thermal structure, turbulent motions or surface, and stern waves. Moving surface targets leave a long wake behind them. The wake produced by a surface target leaves such strong patterns that this makes it possible to detect, track, or identify surface targets with acoustic methods.

This wake can be detected by the AWD, which is integrated into the torpedo. The AWD makes use of the physical features of the wake to detect it or to distinguish it from an undisturbed water surface. The wake generated by a surface target reflects sound so strongly and so persistently that it may provide successful acoustic methods in naval warfare operations for detecting, tracking, or identifying the surface target which has produced the wake. The torpedo scans the target area with this AWD, locates the wake, and guides itself automatically to target e.g., by the suitable crossing of the wake.

There are two small sonar transducers on the AWD, which is located in the middle of the torpedo body. Thanks to these transducers located on both sides of the AWD body, air bubbles created by the surface vessel’s wake are detected and analyzed with the electronic hardware located inside the AWD body. Acoustic transducers ping the air bubbles created by the wake, which can stand on the water surface for an extended period, and check the pings reflected from the bubbles to see if they were produced by a surface target. The AWD then transmits its analysis data to the torpedo (data sharing), and the torpedo’s central processor makes the final decision. If the central processor gives the tracking command, the torpedo initiates the guidance sequence by using the AWD system. During the tracking phase, the torpedo uses sonar to look for changes in the water caused by the passage of the ship, such as the small air bubbles. When these are detected, the torpedo turns toward the ship then follows a zig-zag course, turning when it detects the outer edge of the wake, to keep itself in the wake. This will eventually bring it to the rear of the ship, where its warhead can do the most damage to propulsion and steering. The "wake homing" torpedoes equipped with the AWD system are difficult to counter with “soft-kill” (functional destruction) jamming systems, though they can be distracted by other ships crossing the wake. Since existing torpedo jamming and deception systems are ineffective against such threats, "wake homing" torpedoes can only be eliminated with "hard-kill" (physical destruction) torpedo defense systems