A new missile that will allow submarines to engage airborne threats, such as anti-submarine warfare helicopters, is expected to be delivered to the German Navy by 2024.
Developed by the IDAS Consortium, which is led by Diehl BGT Defense and thyssenkrupp Marine Systems, the missile is considered to be the first one to allow submarines to engage targets from a submerged position.
While the Interactive Defence and Attack System for Submarines (IDAS) already completed ejection tests aboard German and Norwegian submarines, its development is expected to continue through 2023, before official delivery in 2024.
The 2.8-meter-long missile weigh 140 kilograms and reaches a speed of 240 m/s with a 20 kg warhead.
As explained by TKMS, once a target is identified, the missile maneuvers in the direction of the target, breaks the surface, accelerates to cruising speed, and flies towards the target area. The operator onboard the submarine stays in full control of the missile – “human in the loop” – while the submarine remains hidden. This is to give to the operator the chance to change the target or abort the mission. In the unlikely event of the connection being lost (optical fiber rupture) the missile will continue to operate in accordance with the operational settings, i.e. engagement of the last selected or the most probable target or mission-abort if this is in line with the rules of engagement.
Additionally, the “human in the loop” enables the system to fulfill a secondary role: engagement of surface targets where a heavyweight torpedo is not appropriate. This also provides the submarine’s commander with a means of escalation that is appropriate to the concrete operational situation. Furthermore, the integration of a GPS sensor would even incorporate land targets (e.g. to support SOF operations) into the IDAS target set, according to the company.
The IDAS system uses an ejection container to store four missiles and eject them separately out of a torpedo tube. A thrust piston system, which is fully integrated into the container, is used to eject the missile.