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Saab Combat Management Systems – an evolving capability

3 min read + Video

For over three decades Saab has had a profound impact on Australia’s defence capability. Most notably providing the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) with its own world-class naval combat management system – the backbone of Australia’s defence independence.

With today’s complex environment, a combat management system which aids naval operators in making mission critical decisions is vitally important. Saab’s combat management system features advanced data fusion and situational awareness functionalities, supporting operators in detection, tactical decisions and engagements in real operations, as well as during training exercises.

Saab’s combat management system has proven operational capabilities for an array of mission types, from extreme littorals to the open ocean and in all warfare dimensions. When most think of how a naval platform fights, first thoughts are of weapons, missiles and radars. Saab’s combat management system brings together all of these elements, in addition to critical information from sensors, unmanned vehicles and other integrated systems, providing the ultimate situational awareness to naval operators.

From inception, the design of Saab’s combat management system has enabled navies from across the globe to enhance the effectiveness of their missions by reducing operator workload. These efficiencies empower naval platforms to excel in their mission, whether that be surveillance, peacekeeping, or defensive operations.

 

 

Developing, upgrading, enhancing capability
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Developing, upgrading, enhancing capability
Enduring support for Australia's Anzac class frigates

After securing the combat management system contract for the Anzac class frigate program over 30 years ago, Saab has worked closely with the RAN to upgrade, enhance and develop its combat management system to meet their unique operational needs. The culmination of this technology transfer ultimately enabled the development of the 9LV Mk3E CMS for the highly successful ANZAC Anti-Ship Missile Defence Upgrade.

Technology transfer establishing capability

Originally developed in Sweden in the 1960s, Saab progressively transitioned combat system development work, including all local customisation work, and the skills and capacity for future work, to Australia.

Continuing to support the Royal Australian Navy

This marked the beginning of a strong and historic journey where Saab transferred not only the systems technology into Australia, but also its future development, which continues today.

 

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Did you know?

In every sense, Saab’s combat management system is unique to Australia, being developed by Australians for Australian requirements.

Saab’s combat management system will be equipped on six of the RAN’s classes of vessels:

  • Anzac class
  • Canberra class
  • Supply class
  • Arafura class
  • Mine Countermeasures and Military Survey Vessels
6
Classes of vessels

 

Continuing to nurture the in-country capability, Saab’s specialist engineering workforce continues to develop a range of new applications and features that evolve the system to consistently meet the current and future unique requirements of the Australian customer.

Over the decades, the architecture of Saab’s combat management system has continually evolved to meet the changing requirements of the Commonwealth and to meet an evolving naval landscape. In order to forward plan the increasing complexities of systems needed by each platform, the architecture of Saab’s combat management system has advanced to become a modular and an open structured solution.

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Saab’s approach to continuous evolution of its combat management system technology and architecture has enabled the system to be utilised across a range of vessel types and classes with proven operational performance.

Some classes require a combat management system which controls all sensors and effectors, whilst others need less focus on defensive systems and a stronger focus on survey capabilities. Saab’s modular solution approach allows the system to be scaled up or down to provide the unique capability needed for each platform.


The architecture of the latest iteration of Saab’s combat management system, otherwise known as NextGen, is now containerised and managed through modules. Utilising the system in this structure allows multiple applications to run simultaneously through a single host, securing system performance and providing greater flexibility of operator functions.

Ultimately, this choice of architecture provides runtime independence from the operating systems, increases resource budgets to enhance system stability, adds redundancy measures for system performance, and ensures a viable fall-back exists to maintain capability. All while the system communications are secured through encryptions between containers.

 

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Securing Australia's future

As a key partner in the delivery of Australia’s sovereign shipbuilding capability, Saab continues to support the Government to ensure the Australian Defence Force is fully equipped to protect the country from current and future threats.