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Ultra Electronics is a world leader in underwater acoustic communications technology. Together we have collective experience with Proteus, Hail, Deep Siren, and USN ACOMMS, packaged in a variety of retrievable and expendable submarine launched SATCOM offerings. Ocean Systems offerings include underwater telephone, advanced acoustic communications sonar, expendable two way submarine satellite communications, situational awareness buoys, and emergency rescue beacons. New lightweight, broadband, highly efficient sonar offerings have been designed to support the next generation of transformational distributed netted sensors and unmanned undersea vehicles.

Underwater Communications Products

Underwater Submarine

Images courtesy of US DoD

A family of expendable communications buoys that enables submarines to remain at tactical posture, yet provide robust and sustained one way and two way communications via the iridium commercial satellite network to operational commanders in support of multiple submarine missions.

Ultra Electronics Ocean Systems two way communications buoy utilizes a fiber-optic spooled tether connected to the submarine. This capability provides the submarine with real time, two way chat, file transfer and e-mail, while maintaining its tactical posture. After completing its mission, the tether is severed and the buoy scuttles automatically.

Ultra’s one way programmable buoy enables the submarine to pass time critical information without breaking tactical posture, utilizing iridium commercial satellite network. These designs are directly applicable to communications at speed and depth.

The team of Ultra Electronics Ocean Systems Inc, ERAPSCO, and Lockheed Martin Marion, Inc designed three types of two-way communications devices and associated submarine and shore equipment. Two of the devices – the tethered expendable communications buoy (TECB) Iridium system and the TECB–UHF system – are launched from submarines. The third is an acoustic-to-RF Gateway (A2RF) system that can be launched from both submarines and aircraft.

This new fleet capability will enable secure, two-way communications between submarines operating below periscope depth and at tactical speeds with surface ships, aircraft and land-based assets. All classes of U.S. Navy submarines will be equipped with this transformational capability.

The Submarine Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon or SEPIRB is a radio signaling device used for locating a submarine in distress. The SEPIRB is specifically designed for submarine use, and can be launched either via the submarine’s signal ejector or its escape trunk. Upon surfacing, SEPIRB transmits a digitally encoded distress message over the COSPAS-SARSAT satellite network, which obtains the position of the SEPIRB to within 100 yards (91 meters) using an onboard GPS receiver. The SEPIRB broadcasts message transmissions and beacon continuously until either the batteries are exhausted (48 hours minimum) or until the device is retrieved and manually deactivated.


RTOF allows a submarine communication payload to be deployed to the surface without affecting the submarine’s ability to maintain speed and depth. The unique system allows satellite communication without leaving a wake or plume during deployment, operation or recovery, allowing the submarine to remain below periscope depth. Ultra’s solution consists of a highly buoyant communicator connected to the submarine by a neutrally buoyant fiber-optic cable that also acts as a tether.

The RTOF System can be scaled to be operated from any size or type of submarine platform. There are currently two package sizes available; the 450mm diameter RTOF Classic and the 250mm diameter RTOF Lite.

Core capability payloads:

• Basic communication (either SATCOM or Line of Sight)
• EW Warner
• GPS L1 & L2 Bands
• Bathymetric Sensors


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