Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Friday, December 19, 2008

"I'm Sorry, Dave, But I Need To Launch The Missiles Now..."

The Royal Navy announced earlier this week the successful of the Submarine Command System Next Generation (SMCS NG) system on the last of their 12 nuclear-powered submarines, including their entire SSBN force. This Command System is based on Windows, resulting in a not unexpected outpouring of (somewhat) humorous concern; a good round-up of reactions can be found here.

I'll admit that I was one of those people who didn't think that the shift to COTS (Commerciall Off-The-Shelf) technology for submarine computer systems was a very good idea, but it appears to me that it's been pretty successful. With any program, though, there are bound to be hiccups. What are your most entertaining stories about computer screw-ups onboard submarines that you've seen or heard about?


Blogger midwatchcowboy said...

I'd go one further and say that we should go to LINUX OS and open source software for our LANs. Ridiculous that we have so many different versions of Windows on our own subs. NT hasn't been supported for years.

12/19/2008 6:34 PM

Blogger beebs said...

We were out boring holes in the ocean with an "interesting" tactical situation.

The FCS went down. I thought the CO was going to go crazy. It did come back....

I guess you had to be there on the USTAFISH.

12/19/2008 6:57 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

In 2002 Turk Submarine Force replaced their Mk 101 Mod 20 Fire control Systems on the last two Tang class boats (SS-563 and SS-567), we gave them in in late 70's. They removed the three Mk 101 mod 20 Fire control System Panels in the control room stbd side and replaced them with a desk top computer and home grown Submarine Torpedo Fire Control software. A report I received in 2004 indicated the Turk Submarine force was going to install their own Torpedo Fire Control System on boats purchased from Germany. Both Ex Tang class boats are decommissioned. Ex-Tang SS-563 in 2003 and Ex-Gudgeon SS-567, now their museum submarine, in 2005.

Keep a zero bubble....


12/19/2008 8:43 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Once upon a time, during our boat's first deployment over 20 years ago, which also happened to be the first deployment of a 688 class submarine that was built by EB with a digital fire control system (not to name names), we had the misfortune of the FCS crashing while we were a bit too close to a [redacted].

This came to my attention (then serving as "Weps") by way of my being woken up at O-dark-thirty with a somewhat disconcerting plea to immediately come to the control room.

Upon arriving, the sound of the [redacted's] [redacteds] could be heard by way of demodulation via the we were kinda way too close, and I clearly had gotten called up way too late to do much except be the voice of reason while my guys did their thing and methodically rebooted the system.

In any case, thankfully, no paint swapping with said [redacted] occurred, but I later had little doubt that the otherwise exaggerated close-aboard movie scenes based on a Tom Clancy novel had nothing on us.

The FCS -- iron-ferrite core memory and all -- was properly rebooted, 3F-3F sweat pumps were downshifted, and an air of calm -- if not indeed how-long-do-we-have-to do-this boredom -- was properly restored. And we all lived happily ever after.

The End.

12/19/2008 10:01 PM

Blogger Chap said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12/19/2008 11:24 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's FCS? Fire Control System?

- A civilian

12/20/2008 5:48 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes...that, or, in today's vernacular, the "F" has been dropped, and they just call it a Combat System.

12/21/2008 7:50 AM

Blogger jonseagull said...

As an SSN CO, I have had more than one frustration while waiting for the radar, navigation system, or LAN to reboot...and they are all windows based. Wonderful stuff.

1/03/2009 11:06 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its called COTS but you can't find any of the old stuff we had on any shelf. There was not a computer on board that was less than 10 years old(except the ais laptop, ct, and acint stuff) and we supposedly had the latest and greatest FCS, LAN, and Sonar. It was fustrating knowing we were paying $80,000 to replace a 10 year old dual 500mhz server with the same dual 500mhz refurbished server that would only work for 6 months before it too had to be replaced. But hey that's not as bad as the circuit cards for old BSY-1 stuff that Lockheed Martin charged $250,000 for. The WLC and TCP are total crap and after the contracters at SUBPAC worked on them months we go on deployment still unable to shoot weapons from the starbord side unless we went through a 15 minute reset every time.

1/10/2009 2:20 AM


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