Navy’s Submarine Force Marks 20th Year of Acoustic Tech Insertions
By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor
ARLINGTON, Va. — The Navy has marked two decades of a technology insertion program that became a model of capability improvement, one that has inspired similar programs for other platforms.
The Acoustic Rapid COTS (commercial, off-the-shelf) Insertion (ARCI) program was an innovative means to periodically and rapidly insert new hardware and software into the combat systems of the U.S. Navy’s nuclear-powered submarines, taking advantage of cutting-edge commercial computing technology without having to perform major modifications, saving funds and cutting shipyard time for the submarine fleet.
The first shipset of ARCI was delivered to the Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Augusta on Nov. 1, 1997, said Rear Adm. Michael Jabaley, the Navy’s program executive officer for submarines, speaking Nov. 2 at the annual symposium of the Naval Submarine League.
“It really started a revolution in the way we provide combat system electronics,” Jabaley said. “The first shipset was a single workstation, a single processor, a single server, and provided processing for the TB-23 thin-line [sonar towed] array.”
Phase 2 added a second workstation and added processing capability for the TB-16 and TB-29 fat-line towed arrays as well as the TB-23 and the submarine’s hull-mounted arrays. Phase 3 included the spherical arrays and Phase 4 included the high-frequency array, he said.
Jabaley said that the ARCI program, which evolved into the Technology Insertion Acquisition Program Baseline (TIAPB) process, has resulted over the two decades in an increase of computer processing power of 225 times the original processing power.
“The cost comes down as the capability goes up,” Jabaley said. The ARCI and TIAPB “have been foundational to the success of the submarine force over the last 20 years in reaping the benefits of advanced electronics.”