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UK-based maritime engineering specialist SEA is to provide in-service support to the Combat System Highway (CSH) on UK Royal Navy (RN) ships as part of a new five-year contract with the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD), the company announced on 11 May 2023.

The CSH is a crucial element on RN ships that allows operators to determine combat system status and ensure mission availability. The system provides a resilient, high-speed communication backbone, which is fitted in surface vessels to pass information between command, control, sensor and weapon systems to enable an integrated combat system.

The contract includes a wide range of in-service support for RN surface ships and shore-based facilities, including performance monitoring, ongoing technical refresh, and obsolescence reporting as the equipment technical authority for the CSH network. SEA will provide support for a number of RN ships, including Type 23 frigates, the RFA Royal Victoria auxiliary oiler replacement (AOR) ship, as well as landing platform dock amphibious assault ships.

Having designed the CSH in the 1980s, SEA has provided in-service support throughout the life of the network, including several iterations of technology refresh. The experience and intellectual property of the system within SEA’s team of in-service engineers allows them to provide support and rapid response to technical issues.

The RN Type 23 frigate HMS Lancaster alongside in the Port of Muscat, Oman, in February 2023. SEA’s Combat System Highway contract will provide support for a number of RN ships, including Type 23 frigates. (Photo: Crown Copyright)

“Ensuring the availability of equipment is a crucial aspect of the Royal Navy’s operational effectiveness,” Kerry Parfitt, Head of Maritime Support & Services at SEA, was quoted as saying in a company press release. “Our skilled team have the extensive technical knowledge and skills to carry out the works required. Our in-service support team has a history of working closely with the Royal Navy to support their systems and responding to emerging demands. We’re proud of our role in supporting the Royal Navy in being mission ready and able to respond to threats.”

Meanwhile, SEA, which is a subsidiary of Cohort plc, is currently under contract for a number of ongoing RN support projects. It is providing technology refresh and in-service support for the torpedo launcher and countermeasures systems on RN Type 23 frigates as part of a GBP34 M (EUR 38.97 M) contract announced in October 2022, giving the in-service team an existing knowledge of the interface of these systems, which are connected to the CSH.

SEA is also under contract manage and update the RN’s in-service sonar equipment.

Peter Felstead