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Missile System IDAS

Interactive Defence and Attack System for Submarines (IDAS)The innovative Interactive Defence and Attack System for Submarines (IDAS) is a lightweight fibre-optic guided missile for submarines. Primarily conceived as a means of self-defence for the submarine against ASW helicopters, IDAS has been developed further into a multi-purpose weapon system that enables the submerged cruising submarine to engage airborne, surface and coastal targets with a high degree of precision.

IDAS is a German missile program with Diehl BGT Defense as Prime Contractor and the shipyard TKMS (ThussenKrupp Marine Systems) as partners in ARGE IDAS. Nammo has been selected as Rocket Motor supplier for IDAS, and has participated in the program since 2003. IDAS is a technology demonstration program financed by BWB and the industrial working group ARGE IDAS (HDW and Diehl BGT Defence: 40% each, Kongsberg: 20%).

Within the IDAS Consortium, the missile as well as the fibre-optic system are produced by Diehl BGT Defence. ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems is in charge of the launching container and the system integration into the submarine. Moreover, ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems is speaker of the IDAS Consortium.

The IDAS system comprises the missile, four of which are housed in a special launch canister in the torpedo tube, and the control console in the submarine's command and control center. Main missile components are the imaging IR seeker taken over from IRIS-T, a fiber-optic data link between the control console and the missile as well as a single-stage, solid-propellant rocket motor providing IDAS with a mission range of approx. 20km.

The operator on board the submarine may intervene in the course of the mission at any time. In addition, reconnaissance results and target images obtained by means of the seeker can be evaluated in the submarine. With IDAS, a modern, conventional submarine is provided with completely new capabilities (escalation), also enabling its use in new scenarios of asymmetric warfare.

IDAS offers submarines entirely new possibilities of weapon employment. IDAS enables submerged submarines to defend themselves against threats from the air and to precisely engage vessels as well as land targets near the coast. The submarine does not have to surface, but can launch the multi-role missile from a torpedo canister under water. An autopilot and image-processing infrared seeker provides autonomous guidance and navigation. Thanks to an innovative fiber-optic data link, the operator in the submarine is also capable of controlling the missile during the entire flight providing the opportunity of target change, correction of target impact or mission abort.

This monitoring of target approach combined with the high precision of the seeker and the relatively small warhead achieves the desired effect while considerably limiting unwelcome destruction in the target´s vicinity. IDAS is the first guided missile to operate under water without a protective capsule, thus saving considerable costs and volume during storage in the submarine and enhancing tactical flexibility.

The uniqueness of IDAS is founded on the missile’s ability to be linked to the submarine’s combat operations centre via a fibre-optic cable link during the entire duration of the mission. Its imaging IR-seeker transmits images continuously via the fibre-optic link down to the operator’s console. As he is able to follow the missile’s flight visually, the operator is able – if required – to change the target or to choose a different point of impact. The extreme degree of precision of the missile means that a relatively small warhead is enough to achieve the desired effect. This enables collateral damage to be avoided in a way that is not possible when deploying torpedoes or heavyweight missiles.

This missile system further expands the submarine’s ability to react flexibly to a wide range of situations. The IDAS concept has shown its feasibility in successful firing tests. After having finalised its detailed design phase and qualification IDAS will be ready to go into series production.

The successful maiden flight of an IDAS prototype started under water took place in 2006. In the following year, the project was awarded the Technology prize of the German defence industry. In 2008, an IDAS prototype was successfully test-fired from a class 212A submarine of the German Navy in the Baltic Sea. The IDAS consortium is conducting the Initial Development Program aiming at verification of the system with firings from a submerged submarine against real targets.

Interactive Defence and Attack System for Submarines (IDAS) Interactive Defence and Attack System for Submarines (IDAS) Interactive Defence and Attack System for Submarines (IDAS) Interactive Defence and Attack System for Submarines (IDAS)
After the IDAS program was halted in 2010, the German industry partners decided to continue with industry funding. In order to initiate the industrial development program the IDAS Consortium needed a set of requirements, which were established in cooperation with submariners of the German and other navies and laid down in a document forming part of the consortium agreement. The top-level requirements included:
  • System range >15 km
  • Launching depth below periscope depth (comparable to sub-harpoon)
  • Minimal restrictions on a submarine's maneuverability during missile deployment
  • Full operator control over the effector during entire deployment phase
  • Use of existing torpedo tube and torpedo-loading and -storage infrastructure
  • Minimal integration effort (stand-alone integration), with full integration into the submarine's combat system as growth potential

The IDAS Consortium was founded in 2012 by Diehl Defence (formerly Diehl BGT Defence) and thyssenkrupp Marine Systems. Together with partners Nammo and Roketsan they commenced the initial development phase in 2012 to develop a missile system that complies with those top-level requirements.

The initial ejection tests were performed in May 2015 at the thyssenkrupp Marine Systems dockyard. After numerous unwinding tests with the optical fiber bobbin under varying conditions, including an ignited rocket motor, preparations were made for further tests with Norwegian submarines. In 2016 first system loading and unloading tests and then missile ejection tests from HNoMS Uredd were accomplished successfully. The initial development phase was completed by an engineering development firing test carried out in cooperation with the Royal Norwegian Navy. Thus the entire operational concept had been confirmed.

The IDAS Consortium and its international partners will achieve series production maturity for the IDAS system during the system qualification phase, in which the remaining detail development, verification and qualification work will be carried out. This phase is due to be completed and IDAS placed on the market in 2022.

Nowadays, anti-submarine warfare (ASW) is mainly carried out by airborne units ­– mostly helicopters equipped with dipping sonar and lightweight torpedoes. Submarines remain vulnerable to these threats. Usually, the only available option is to hide at greater depths or even leave the area of operations. Especially when restricted by coastal or shallow waters, differing salt content or temperatures, this typical avoidance of detection is frequently not an option. The mere presence of an airborne ASW unit already limits the submarine's operational options. That is why Diehl Defence and thyssenkrupp Marine Systems cooperated in the IDAS Consortium to develop the IDAS weapon system ­– Interactive Defense and Attack System for Submarines – to enable a submerged submarine to actively defend itself against airborne ASW threats.

The presence of an ASW helicopter in the area of operations is most likely to be detected by optical or electro-optical sensors or through receiving acoustic indicators, such as sonar intercepts of the dipping sonar. As soon as the crew detects such a threat, IDAS is prepared for operation. Range and bearing are determined by the submarine's sensor and sensor data fusion system. As soon as the operational situation is assessed as a critical defense situation, the effector is launched. For engagement purposes it is not necessary for the submarine to risk further detection by showing mast-mounted optical or electronic support measure (ESM) sensors or even by surfacing.

During the underwater flight phase, the missile maneuvers in the direction of the target, breaks the surface, accelerates to cruising speed, and flies towards the target area. The operator onboard the submarine stays in full control of the missile ­– “human in the loop” – while the submarine remains hidden. This is to give to the operator the chance to change the target or abort the mission. In the unlikely event of the connection being loss (optical fiber rupture) the missile will continue to operate in accordance with the operational settings, i.e. engagement of the last selected or the most probable target or mission-abort if this is in line with the rules of engagement.

Additionally, the “human in the loop” enables the system to fulfill a secondary role: engagement of surface targets where a heavyweight torpedo is not appropriate. This also provides the submarine’s commander with a means of escalation that is appropriate to the concrete operational situation. Furthermore, the integration of a GPS sensor would even incorporate land targets (e.g. to support SOF operations) into the IDAS target set.

The IDAS system uses an ejection container to store four missiles and eject them separately out of a torpedo tube. A thrust piston system, which is fully integrated into the container, is used to eject the missile. The ejection container has the main dimensions and weight of a typical heavyweight torpedo. This allows for easy integration into new submarine building projects as well as refits of existing submarines.

Every IDAS missile is equipped with an optical fiber bobbin located in the missile's aft section and connecting the effector with the operator. Wings and fins are folded alongside the missile when stored and are unfolded at a safe distance from the submarine after ejection. With a 20 kg warhead and a cruising speed of more than 200 m/s the IDAS missile is capable of very effectively engaging an ASW helicopter. The whole system is pressure-proof at depths significantly deeper than periscope depth.

For the first time in submarine operations, IDAS provides submarines with the capability to defend themselves effectively against airborne threats – without risking self-exposure. IDAS can be integrated into new submarine designs as well as existing systems. The principle of permanent missile control vi the "human in the loop" concept in combination with a submarine operational depth significantly deeper than periscope depth is an entirely new development in the execution of maritime operations. On the one hand, the operating unit does not need to risk exposure if it decides to defend itself; on the other hand, the risk of interference to the system is reduced to a minimum. IDAS will massively change the paradigms of submarine and antisubmarine operations.

Interactive Defence and Attack System for Submarines (IDAS) Interactive Defence and Attack System for Submarines (IDAS) Interactive Defence and Attack System for Submarines (IDAS) Interactive Defence and Attack System for Submarines (IDAS) Interactive Defence and Attack System for Submarines (IDAS) Interactive Defence and Attack System for Submarines (IDAS)

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Page last modified: 25-10-2021 16:32:45 ZULU