Sub Command: SeaWolf/Akula/688(I)
by Len "Viking1" Hjalmarson
Article Type: Preview / Background
Article Date: Apr. 24, 2001
Game Title: Sub Command: Seawolf / Akula / 688(I)
Category: Naval Combat
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Release Date: Released
Files / Links: Click Here
It's been a long time since the release of the excellent 688(I) Hunter/Killer, roughly four years. That game was produced by Paul Grace, and there was great demand for an add-on that was begun but never finished. Now Sonalysts will go one better with an entirely new game and new challenges. Working title: Sub Command: Seawolf / Akula / 688(I) (Sub Command for short).
Sonalysts has previously worked with Jane's Combat Simulations in the production of 688(I) and Fleet Command. 688(I) is by far the most detailed simulation of modern submarine warfare ever released to the public. Fleet Command, a much more recent Electronic Arts game, was a hybrid strategy/simulation game that was played entirely from the third person perspective. Somewhat unique, it has since spawned a large following and many mods, achieving new life via a dedicated group of strategy gamers at the Naval Warfare Sim Website.
Fleet Command in its original form was sort of "Harpoon Light." Now Sonalysts are developing a modern submarine simulation, Sub Command, that will surpass 688I in authenticity, and will allow players to test their skills in the Seawolf, the Akula II and the 688(I). In this series of articles, we'll look at some of the subject technology before we hear from the Producer at Sonalysts, Kim Castro. While we discuss some of the facts around the original Los Angeles class plus the later enhanced (Fleet III or "I" version), we'll also jog your memory of 688(I) with screen shots from that great simulation.
SSN-688 Los Angeles-class
Submarines of the LOS ANGELES Class are among the most advanced undersea vessels of their type in the world. While anti-submarine warfare is still their primary mission, the inherent characteristics of the submarine's stealth, mobility and endurance are used to meet the challenges of today's changing global geopolitical climate. Submarines are able to get on station quickly, stay for an extended period of time and carry out a variety of missions including the deployment of special forces, minelaying, and precision strike land attack.
These 360 foot, 6,900-ton ship are well equipped to accomplish these tasks. Faster than her predecessors and possessing highly accurate sensors, weapons control systems and central computer complexes, the LOS ANGELES Class is armed with sophisticated MK-48 Advanced Capability anti-submarine/ship torpedoes, Tomahawk land attack cruise missiles, and mines.
These submarines were built in three successive variants:
- SSNs 618-718 - Orginal Los Angeles class
- SSNs 719-750 - Starting with SSN 719 and beyond the last 31 hulls of the class have twelve vertical launch tubes for the Tomahawk cruise missile, along with an upgraded reactor core.
- SSNs 751-773 - The final 23 hulls [SSN 751 and later] referred to as "688I" (for improved), are quieter, incorporate an advanced BSY-1 sonar suite combat system and the ability to lay mines from their torpedo tubes. They are configured for under-ice operations in that their forward diving planes have been moved from the sail structure to the bow and the sail has been strengthened for breaking through ice.
Los Angeles Class submarine
Los Angeles Class submarine
The submarines are outfitted with a wide variety of antennas, transmitters and receivers necessary to support accomplishment of their assigned tasks. Interior communication is possible on a wide range of circuits and sound powered phones which do not require electrical power and are reliable in battle situations. Various alarm and indicating circuits enable the Officer of the Deck and the Engineering Officer of the Watch to continuously monitor critical parameters and equipment located throughout the ship.
Radar Station in Jane's 688(I)
The nuclear power plant gives these boats the ability to remain deployed and submerged for extended periods of time. To take advantage of this, the ship is outfitted with auxiliary equipment to provide for the needs of the crew. Atmosphere control equipment replenishes oxygen used by the crew and removes carbon dioxide and other atmosphere contaminants. The ship is equipped with two distilling plants which convert salt water to fresh water for drinking, washing and the propulsion plant. Sustained operation of the complex equipment and machinery on the ship requires the support of repair parts carried on board. The ship carries enough food to feed a crew of over one hundred for as long as ninety days.
Weapons and Targetting from Jane's 688(I)
Los Angeles class submarines are divided into two watertight compartments. The forward compartment houses all the living spaces, weapons systems, control centers, and sonar/fire control computers. The after compartment houses the nuclear reactor and the ship's propulsion equipment.
- Engine Room. The engine room houses all the propulsion machinery, as well as the ship's service turbine generators that supply the ship's electricity, and the evaporator which distills water for the propulsion plant and other shipboard use.
- Control Room/Attack Center. Located in the upper level of the forward compartment is the control room--the heart of the ship. The Officer of the Deck stands his watch here, controlling all activities on board. In control, the ship's location is continually determined and plotted, the course and depth are controlled, and all sonar contacts are tracked. The control room also functions as the attack center from where all of the ship's weapon systems are controlled. The sail helps to add stability to the submerged vessel. Additionally it houses all of the periscopes and antennae. In the forward top portion of the sail is the bridge. When the ship is on the surface, the Officer of the Deck will shift his watch to the bridge. Here he has clear view of all the surrounding waters, in addition to getting a breath of fresh air and seeing the welcome sun.
Tactical Control in Jane's 688(I)
- Mess Decks, Berthing, and Wardroom. The middle level of the forward compartment is dedicated to the crew's living spaces. Here is found the mess decks and galley which, when underway, serve four meals a day, one every six hours (allowing for all watchstanders to get a hot meal). Also here are the berthing spaces. Here is the only personal space that a crewman gets--his bed (known as a "rack". These racks are stacked three tall throughout the berthing spaces and have only a curtain to close them off from the rest of the boat. With this as the only private area on board, it is not uncommon to find pictures of family and friends put up on the wall in a rack along with personal cassette and CD players for entertainment. The wardroom is the officers' own room. Here is a big table around which the officers eat, train, and work
Fire Control in Jane's 688(I)
- Torpedo Room. The lower level of the forward compartment is the Torpedo Room. This room stores the ship's weapons which include Mk48 ADCAP torpedoes, Tomahawk cruise missiles, and mines. The torpedo room houses the handling equipment and access to the ship's four torpedo tubes. Weapons are moved from their stowage positions, loaded into the tubes, and readied for launch all in this room by the ship's Torpedomen. The torpedo room also houses controls for the vertical launch tubes which add twelve more Tomahawk cruise missiles to the ship's load.
Active Sonar Station in 688(I)
- Sonar Sphere. Housed in the very forward end of the submarine is the sonar sphere. This is an array of over 1,000 hydrophones which makes up part of the advanced BQQ-5E sonar suite. Positioned at the front of the sub to be as far as possible from the ship's own noise, the sphere can scan for threats in the best listening conditions.
SSN 688-class submarines, which will comprise sixty-eight percent of the attack submarine force in 2015, must be modernized to ensure that they remain effective against increasingly sophisticated undersea adversaries.
Los Angeles Class submarine
The creation of the Acoustic Rapid COTS Insertion (A-RCI) program was based on a detailed review of the U.S. acoustic advantage compared to foreign nuclear and diesel electric submarines. This program is the centerpiece of the Los Angeles (SSN 688-class modernization effort.
A-RCI is a four phased transformation of existing sonar systems (AN/BSY-1, AN/BQQ-5, or AN/BQQ-6) to a more capable and flexible COTS/OSA-based system. It also will provide the submarine force with a common sonar system. The process is designed to minimize the impact of fire-control and sonar system upgrades on a ship's operational schedule, and will be accomplished without the need for major shipyard availabilities.
Phase I, which commenced in November 1997, will enhance towed-array processing. Phase II will provide additional towed- and hull-array software upgrades. Phase III will upgrade the spherical array, and Phase IV will upgrade the high-frequency sonar system on SSN 688I-class submarines. Each phase will install improved processing and control and display workstations. The current installation plan completes all SSNs through Phase III by FY03.
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