BQQ-10 A-RCI Acoustic Rapid COTS Insertion

Acoustic Rapid Commercial Off-The-Shelf Insertion (A-RCI), designated AN/BQQ-10, is a four-phase program for transforming existing submarine sonar systems (AN/BSY-1, AN/BQQ-5, and AN/BQQ-6) from legacy systems to a more capable and flexible COTS/Open System Architecture (OSA) and also provide the submarine force with a common sonar system. A single A-RCI Multi-Purpose Processor (MPP) has as much computing power as the entire Los Angeles (SSN-688/688I) submarine fleet combined and will allow the development and use of complex algorithms previously beyond the reach of legacy processors. The use of COTS/OSA technologies and systems will enable rapid periodic updates to both software and hardware. COTS-based processors will allow computer power growth at a rate commensurate with the commercial industry.

The Acoustic Rapid Commercial Off-the-Shelf (COTS) Insertion (A-RCI) AN/BQQ-10(V) Sonar System was initiated as Engineering Change 1000 to the AN/BSY-1 Combat System on improved Los Angeles class submarines. The concept uses installed legacy sensors and replaces central processors with COTS personal computer technology and software installed in an open architecture. A-RCI allows for faster, more economical, and more frequent hardware and/or software upgrades. The program expanded to provide improvements that could be back-fit into all nuclear attack (SSN) and ballistic missile (SSBN) submarines totaling over 60 ship sets. The system is now known formally as the AN/BQQ-10 (V) Sonar.

These improvements provide expanded capabilities, particularly in littoral waters, for covert intelligence collection and surveillance and covert insertion and support of Special Forces. Expanded capabilities for anti-submarine warfare focused on diesel-electric submarines, covert mining, and covert strike of targets ashore. Specific software improvements include passive ranging, spatial vernier processing, full spectrum processing, dual towed array concurrent processing, low frequency active interference rejection, passive broadband, passive narrowband and passive detection and tracking processing, track management, on-board training, and port/starboard ambiguity resolution.

The operational test and evaluation plan for A-RCI features four phases followed by periodic testing as evolutionary upgrades are made to the hardware and/or software. A-RCI Phase I added initial improvements to the towed array processing and added the TB-29 towed array.

Phase II was the first implementation of the towed array improvements. When DOT&E placed the program under oversight in 2001, Phase II testing was already underway. The Navy provided insufficient submarine test resources for Phase II resulting in the deployment of Phase II equipped ships without operational testing. The importance of the program and the lack of adequate operational testing led to DOT&E putting this Acquisition Category IV program on oversight. Phase II testing was never completed due to repeatedly cancelled tests and equipment failures. Software reliability and configuration management problems continued to slow the program. In April 2001, Operational Test and Evaluation Force (OPTEVFOR) terminated the program testing until the system could be re-certified for testing.

Phase III is a major replacement of the sonar processing hardware and software for the towed, hull, and spherical arrays. The Navy certified Phase III for testing in March 2002.

Phase IV is an upgrade to the high frequency (HF) mine hunting and ice avoidance sonar. The Navy certified Phase IV for testing in August 2002. HF sonar data was collected against the Australian submarine, HMAS Sheean, and in a minefield test in the Berry Islands in August 2002.

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