20 March 2017
WASHINGTON – U.S. Navy undersea warfare experts are ordering additional non-penetrating electro-optical sensor submarine masts from L-3 KEO in Northampton, Mass., for Virginia-class fast-attack submarines, and for other kinds of modern submarines without traditional periscope wells.
Officials of the Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington last week announced a $14.5 million order to L-3 KEO (formerly Kollmorgen) to provide an undisclosed number of Universal Modular Mast (UMM) systems for Navy submarines. L-3 acquired Kollmorgen in 2012.
The Virginia-class is one of the first submarines without a traditional optical periscope that penetrates the vessel's pressure hull and extends upward to enable commanders of submerged submarines to view the scene on the surface.
The UMM serves as a lifting mechanism for five different sensors including the photonics mast program, high-data-rate mast, multi-functional mast, multi-functional modular mast, and integrated electronics support measures mast.
Related: Navy orders additional submarine electro-optical imaging sensors from Lockheed Martin
Rather than raising a large periscope from a well inside the submarine's pressure hull, the UMM uses fiber optic connections between sensors and the submarine. Users control the UMM with a computer game-like joystick and channel its imagery to digital displays to the submarine's control room as well as to other displays distributed throughout the vessel.
This order is an option to a $40.3 million Navy contract to L-3 KEO awarded last June for 16 Universal Modular Masts, as well as 140,000 hours of engineering services and engineering services support. This contract has additional options that could bring its cumulative value to $108.4 million, Navy officials say.
The UMM is built by L-3 KEO and the company's Italian subsidiary Calzoni SrL in Bologna, Italy. On the contract announced Friday, L-3 KEO and L-3 Calzoni will do the work in Bologna, Italy, and Northampton, Mass., and should be finished by August 2019.