Military case study: VxWorks powers Thales’ Astute-Class submarine periscope

By Paul Parkinson

The Astute nuclear-powered submarine is designed to patrol the world's oceans
without being detected by surface ships and other submarines. The
Astute deploys a number of technologies to reduce its sonar signature,
to minimize the probability of detection while submerged. However,
submarines are most vulnerable to detection when the submarine
commander uses a periscope to assess the situation on the surface.

The probability of detection can be reduced by minimizing the duration that the periscope is above the surface. However, this conflicts with the need to provide sufficient time for the submarine commander to be able to assess the situation on
the surface and make appropriate decisions.

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