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June 1, 2009

Raytheon demonstrates new submarine communications technology

Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) has demonstrated the ability to communicate in real time with a submerged submarine at classified speeds and depths.

The capability, which addresses one of the most significant shortfalls in submarine communications, was demonstrated for the U.K. Royal Navy during an at-sea trial of Raytheon's Deep Siren Tactical Paging (DSTP) system.

The Deep Siren system employs expendable buoys that, when contacted through the Iridium satellite network, enable long-range underwater communications using acoustic signals.

The U.K. Ministry of Defence reported that Deep Siren demonstrated "the first step toward a transformational capability that will change the way we operate submarines in the future."

The evaluation, which took place during the U.K. Royal Navy's TAURUS 09 deployment, follows U.S. Navy testing conducted in 2008 that culminated with a successful military utility assessment.

At that time Raytheon described the system as comprising "a command station, one or more RF to acoustic gateway buoys, and an acoustic receive station on board the submarine. The Deep Siren buoy is designed to be launched from a submarine (via the trash disposal unit), as well as from a maritime patrol aircraft (via the sonobuoy launch tube). The buoy can also be deployed over the side of surface craft. Deployed buoys achieve worldwide connectivity with the command station via a commercial satellite data link and translate SATCOM messages into a robust and secure low data rate underwater acoustic signal that is received and decoded by the receiving equipment onboard the submarine. The Deep Siren acoustic message can be successfully decoded at ranges in excess of 150 nautical miles. The DSTP system is designed to be robust against underwater ambient noise, acoustic jamming and propagation irregularities in order to ensure a high confidence of communicating reliably to a submerged submarine within the predicted range or operating area."

Raytheon is also currently working on airborne certification of Deep Siren, which will allow the system's buoys to be deployed via aircraft.

"The Deep Siren system is a vital command and control communications link that provides never-before available capability," said Jerry Powlen, vice president, Network Centric Systems Integrated Communications Systems. "This system once again demonstrated its utility and reliability, proving that we are ready to move forward with production."

Raytheon sats the trial validated that DSTP system buoys can be used to communicate with submarines at underwater ranges significantly greater than 100 nautical (115 statute) miles. It also demonstrated that Deep Siren can significantly accelerate the process to communicate with a submarine by passing tactical messages between a commander and submarine in real time. The U.K. Royal Navy used Deep Siren to share contact information with a submarine, providing positions for both friendly and enemy forces.

Raytheon's partners on the DSTP system are RRK Technologies, Ltd. and Ultra Electronics Maritime Systems.


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