The Aircraft Carrier Alliance have detailed the the Integrated Mission System that can be found aboard the Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers.
The mission system is best described as being the integration of three capabilities. The first area is known as the “real-time systems area.” This covers: command management; management of sensors; and meteorological and navigational systems. The real-time systems area has at its core the combat management system, and includes meteorological and navigational systems, radar systems, including for detection and air traffic control, the identification friend or foe and direction-finding systems, the tactical navigation system that enables aircraft to locate the carrier, visual surveillance systems within the ship and on the flight deck, and small weapons.
Second, the mission system incorporates the ship’s communication systems. This is every form of communication on and off board. Internal communications cover everything from desk phones to intercoms to wireless communications. External communications cover systems and assets sending information off the ship; this encompasses data, video, and voice – everything from HF upwards to satellite frequencies. Equipment here includes broadcast and alarm systems, tactical communications, and other systems required to connect to the command team as well as the wireless communications that allow freedom of movement and efficient communication for the crew on board.
For the first time on a Royal Navy aircraft carrier the Queen Elizabeth Class will be making extensive use of wireless communications throughout the vessel. Previously if a member of the Ship’s Company needed to be contacted, for example by the duty watch or because someone had received a phone call, the message would be ‘piped’ or summoned over the main broadcast system. This adds to what can already be a very noisy environment around the ship. Having the wireless communications will significantly reduce the number of pipes made as the Officer of the Day, duty watch and other key personnel will carry radios allowing them to communicate easily with less disruption caused to the rest of the Ship’s Company.
The third element is the ship’s information systems. As well as individual systems, this third element includes the networked infrastructure that integrates all the sensors, communications, and other elements, and also brings together the mission planning and data exploitation applications that enable the carrier to conduct its missions.
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