Electronic Weapons: The Wizards Of Oz

Archives

February 15, 2012: Australian submarines are being fitted with a new and improved radar absorbent material (RAM). The new, locally developed RAM is more easily attached to the sub, especially odd shaped structures like masts. The new RAM is also more robust. The new Australian RAM means that subs using it will spend less time sidelined for RAM repairs because RAM gets beaten up and damaged by time at sea.

RAM has been around since 1943 (World War II) and is essential for diesel-electric boats (like the Australian Collins class subs) which spend a lot of time on the surface, or just below surface, using their noisy diesel engines via a snorkel device that breaks the surface to take in air and get rid of the engine exhaust. Snorkels can be spotted by modern maritime patrol aircraft radar and many nations are getting more search planes. The noise of the diesel engines can easily be picked up by other subs. Moreover, using a snorkel is often uncomfortable for the crew as the air intakes automatically close if the weather is rough on the surface and waves get close to the air intakes. Using RAM on the snorkel device also makes it difficult for aircraft radar to spot the sub. But if the sub is in an apparently safe area it's preferable to run on the surface.

Diesel-electric subs are increasingly being equipped with AIP (air independent propulsion) systems. This enables the sub to stay under deeper and longer, thus making the sub harder to find. AIP allows the sub to travel under water for more than a week at low speed (5-10 kilometers an hour). But even with AIP, the subs will still spend some time on the surface and they still need RAM.

 

 


Article Archive

Electronic Weapons: Current 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 


X

ad
0
20

Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close