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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

IIT-Delhi Professors Propose 1500 Per Cent Increase In Speed Of Submarine Communication

Very Low Frequency [VLF]-based communication forms the current backbone for data transfer to Indian Navy's Submarine fleet from land.

Due to their very large wavelength, VLF waves have the unique ability to travel long distances, unhindered by obstacles like hills, with little distortion during propagation. Additionally, due to the properties of such waves, they are also able to penetrate up to a certain depth of water of oceans and seas, thus making them ideal message carriers to submarines, deployed far off from homeland. The Indian Navy's current sole VLF transmitting station, INS Kattabomman, is located in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

However, VLF waves have a very low rate of data transfer - 50-200 bps, that severely limits the amount & nature of information that can be passed on to the submarines. The two Professors from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi [IIT-D] have had their paper published in the January issue of DRDO's 'Defence Science Journal'. Titled, 'An Architecture for High Data Rate Very Low Frequency Communication', they have proposed a method that would be able to increase the speed up to 800 bps. This paper, being an all Electronics concept, was lost on me. If you have the relevant background, do go through it. Certainly sounds very interesting, more so if such a system can be productionised in a cost-effective manner.

While VLF waves can penetrate up to 40m of sea surface, submarines, therefore need to rise close to the surface to receive messages, making them vulnerable to detection by the enemy. Extremely Low Frequency [ELF] waves, on the other hand, can travel further into the depths of the oceans, thus making them ideal for a much safer deep sea submarine communication. It would become ideal for India to possess such system of communication once its nuclear-powered submarines being patrolling, carrying on-board, weapon-systems of strategic value. There were reports, a little earlier, suggesting the setting up of such a facility, which has been linked to the construction of the indigenously developed INS Arihant, and the subsequent submarines of its class. If true then, upon completion, India would become only the third such country in the world to possess such a system, after USA & Russia.


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