FF 1052 KNOX class Electronics
Electronic equipment is vital to all aspects of escort ship and patrol frigate operations. These ships require electronic equipment long range eyes and ears to detect potential threats and to direct their own weapons. Other electronic equipment is used for electronic countermeasures, navigation, and communication.
The most obvious electronic features of these ships are their radar antennas, normally rotating as they transmit energy beams that will be reflected back to the antennas when they encounter objects. The presentation of these radar pictures are shown on viewing scopes located in the combat information center, on the bridge, and in other key positions of the ships.
The KNOX class escort ships have an SPS 40 air search radar and SPS 10 navigation radar, both mounted on the "mack" structure. In addition, a smaller radar for directing the 5 inch gun is mounted on a director above the bridge. In the patrol frigate more advanced radars will be provided, probably the SPS 49 air search, SPS 55 surface search, and a gunfire control radar. These radars permit the detection and tracking of air and surface objects, and navigation when near shore.
For the detection of submarines these ships are fitted with advanced sonar equipment. The KNOX class ships have the bow mounted SQS 26CX sonar, which is capable of passive and active detection. As noted earlier, in the passive mode the sonar listens for sounds generated by a submarine's machinery and the movement of the undersea craft through the water; in the active mode an acoustic pulse is transmitted through the water and reflects back to the sonar when it encounters an underwater object. The SQS 26CX sonar has exceeded expectations in detection range during actual use and has proved superior to earlier sonars. The sonar is linked to fire control systems for anti submarine weapons, providing automatic transfer of target information to the weapons. In addition, the SOS 35 independent variable depth sonar is being fitted into the stern of these ships.
Variable depth sonar is lowered by cable into the water behind the ship, placing the sensitive listening equipment away from ship noises and below the noisy interface where air and water meet, and possibly below "cold layers" that can interfere with sonar performance. This sonar can be used independently or in conjunction with the ship's bow mounted sonar. The SQS 26 sonar is similar to that carried by larger destroyers and frigates.
Helicopter facilities permit them to operate the helicopter of the Light Airborne Multi Purpose System (LAMPS). This helicopter, described in detail in a later section, carries several submarine detection devices. Data from the helicopter's sensors can be transmitted automatically to the escort ship or patrol frigate for analysis by the computers and control centers. Electronic warfare equipment also is installed in ships of these categories to detect hostile electronic transmissions, jam the guidance of enemy missiles, and confuse their homing devices to increase the ship's survivability against detection and attack. Finally, numerous radios are fitted for tactical communications with aircraft and other ships in the area, and for administrative communications with shore bases and senior commanders.
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