MRO Magazine

Abaco Systems Wins Substantial Order from BAE Systems to Support Upgrade of Spearfish Torpedo


December 15, 2015
By Business Wire News

HUNTSVILLE, Ala.

Abaco Systems announced today that it had secured orders with an initial value of £7.5 million (~$11.5 million) from BAE Systems Maritime Services business in the UK.

Abaco’s rugged embedded computing solutions will be used within the ESCU (Electronic System Computer Unit) that will control the Royal Navy’s Spearfish Heavyweight Torpedo in deployment, providing advanced real time signal processing of the Spearfish’s onboard sonar to enable it to reach its intended destination, and networking to allow communication between the torpedo and the host submarine.

Featured in the ESCU will be a number of 3U VPX Power Architecture™ and 4th generation Intel® Core™ i7 technology single board computers. Together they will provide control, tactical and DSP real time processing. An Ethernet switch will be used for communications and networking. Over a five-year period, Abaco Systems has worked with BAE Systems on the feasibility study and subsequently to develop the prototype ESCU, using a 6U VME architecture. For deployment, the prototype was simply and straightforwardly migrated to a 3U VPX platform in order to deliver a more affordable and more compact final solution.

“Our ability to provide a solution that met the requirement for rugged high performance embedded computing in an environment in which both space and power are constrained, and our ability to evolve our offering over the course of the last five years in response to BAE Systems’ requirements were important factors in securing this business,” said Bernie Anger, CEO of Abaco Systems. “So too was our ability to demonstrate that we could provide the necessary long term support and obsolescence management through processes that we have pioneered over more than two decades.”

The order results from a £270 million (~$550 million) order placed with BAE Systems by the UK’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) to upgrade the Spearfish. According to BAE Systems, the upgrade, known as Spearfish Mod 1, extends the life of the torpedo, improves safety through the introduction of an Insensitive Munitions warhead and through the utilization of a single fuel system, and provides more capable data links between the weapon system and the launching vessel. This results in capability improvements for the Royal Navy as well as significant reduction in through-life operating costs.

“The work we’ve undertaken with Abaco Systems over the last five years to develop the prototype ESCU will mean the Royal Navy will see a step-change in capability when the Mod-1 Spearfish Heavyweight Torpedo enters service,” said Les Gregory, Products & Services Director, BAE Systems. “Offering advanced real time signal processing of the torpedo’s on-board sonar, plus improved communications between the torpedo and host vessel will ultimately make sure the torpedo reaches its intended destination, even in the most complex of scenarios.”

The anti-submarine and anti-surface Spearfish torpedoes are currently deployed in the Trafalgar and Vanguard submarines, as well as the Astute Class submarines, all of which were also designed and built by BAE Systems. Spearfish can be used in defensive and offensive situations and its advanced design delivers maximum warhead effectiveness at high speed with outstanding manoeuvrability, low radiated noise, advanced homing and sophisticated tactical intelligence.

The torpedo can operate autonomously from the time of launch and is capable of variable speeds across the entire performance envelope. Its high power density bespoke engine allows it to attain exceptional sprint speed in the terminal stage of an attack. The result is an underwater weapon that provides decisive advantage against the full range of submarine and surface threats in all operational environments. Extensive in-water testing will demonstrate consistently high performance and outstanding reliability.

About Abaco Systems

Abaco Systems is a global leader in open architecture computing and electronic systems for aerospace, defense and industrial applications. Spun out of General Electric in 2015, we deliver and support open modular solutions developed to upgrade and enhance the growing data, analytics, communications and sensor processing capabilities of our target applications. This, together with our 700+ professionals’ unwavering focus on our customers’ success, reduces program cost and risk, allows technology insertion with affordable readiness and enables platforms to successfully reach deployment sooner and with a lower total cost of ownership. With an active presence in a significant number of national asset platforms on land, sea and in the air, Abaco Systems is trusted where it matters most. www.abaco.com

Intel and Core are registered trademarks of Intel Corporation. Power Architecture is a trademark of power.org. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Abaco Systems
Ian McMurray, +44 (0)1327 322821
Communications Manager
ian.mcmurray@abaco.com