Maintaining Stealth on Submarines through Machine Condition Based Monitoring

Few military crafts are more concerned with stealth than the submarine, for which the US Navy stands 72 strong, more than any other nation in the world. These powerful vessels are equipped to perform seek-and-destroy missions, surveillance, strategic nuclear deterrence, mine and anti-mine operations, and more. Two basic truths guide submarine operation: the boat must function underwater for months on end and its presence must remain undetected. 


Machine condition based monitoring (CBM) plays an important role in securing the stealth of the submarine, as any vibration-related tone passed through the hull to the outside world could betray the vessel. All onboard equipment must be meticulously monitored and maintained, including the main engines, bilge pumps and nuclear-propulsion equipment. Even the slightest malfunctions must be identified and acted upon immediately. Because the submarine rarely resurfaces, these problems must be handled by submarine crew with onboard resources. 

The US Navy has chosen Crystal Instruments’ CoCo-80 as the solution for machine CBM on submarines. Navy-approved secure software protocols have been developed and sailors are trained onshore to use CI’s route based data collection software. The data collection process onboard a submerged submarine has been simplified through the technical advances of the CoCo-80, allowing the data to be easily and securely transferred and analyzed onshore. By nature, submarines operate in remote locations with limited access to outside support, so onboard tools, such as the CoCo-80, must be reliable and easily maintained aboard the boat. 

The CoCo-80 is designed to function in harsh environments, such as engine rooms, at 120 degree heat and 100% humidity. Its rugged form factor can survive a drop down a ladder onto a steel grate. Crystal Instruments serves the unique monitoring and testing needs of submarines through a combination of durable hardware and innovative software. The data gathered by the CoCo-80 helps support the missions of some of the most high-tech underwater vessels in the world. 

For more information about the CoCo-80 click here