WESTBOROUGH, Mass. — The U.S. Navy will deploy for sea trials an advanced camera system developed, built and delivered by RemoteReality that will enhance safety and situational awareness for submarines with Type 18 periscopes, used on all Los Angeles- and Seawolf-class submarines.
Instead of the traditional submarine surface-viewing operation that takes several minutes to complete a 360-degree scan of surrounding waters, the RemoteReality camera system gives an instant omni-directional view.
“The camera system, which combines hardware and a software interface, provides submarine operators with a critical ‘quick look’ capability,” said recently named RemoteReality CEO Dennis McGinn. “It captures, in an instant, a full 360-degree view of activity on the surface, through the use of a very high-resolution (six times high definition/12 megapixels) visible-light omni camera and an uncooled (640 x 480 pixels) thermal infrared omni camera for nighttime use.”
McGinn, a retired U.S. Navy admiral who once commanded The Third Fleet in the Pacific, added: “Having this quick-look capability will greatly improve situational awareness and add another layer of safety, especially for submarines in littoral waters.
“As coastal waters and critical maritime straits and choke points become more crowded, the ability to get an instant view of the horizon with a quick periscope look provides a real safety margin and tactical advantage to our submarine fleet,” he continued. “The importance of sea lines of communication (SLOCs) cannot be overstated.”
McGinn noted that the company developed the system under a contract awarded last year by the Office of Naval Research (ONR), one of a number of ONR-awarded contracts that the company has received. He said that RemoteReality’s development partner for this advanced and highly complex optical system is the Naval Underwater Weapons Center (NUWC), based in Newport, R.I.
“This system, which we expect to be installed later this year on a Los Angeles-class nuclear submarine, will enable submariners — skippers and shipmates alike — to have faster, more accurate data about the total surface situation around them,” said McGinn. “Having good, complete information is still one of the best weapons in our defensive arsenal.”
The Type 18 periscope is currently undergoing upgrades for a video package known as SUBIS (submarine imaging subsystem), a set of analog video and digital still cameras that record the view from the periscope and provide image enhancement software for image analysis.
Filed Under: Test + measurement • test equipment, Vision • machine vision • cameras + lenses • frame grabbers • optical filters