For more than two hundred years the fleet of the Royal Navy has used paper charts to navigate its way around the world. Today, the Warship Electronic Chart Display and Information System (WECDIS) is heralding in a fundamental change to the way warships, supply and support ships and submarines plan their routes - and even fight battles.
WECDIS is a great example of how careful application of Systems Integration skills brings huge benefits to Lockheed Martin customers. Using a common hardware and software solution linked to a flexible interface unit, WECDIS is capable of interfacing to more than 46 different ship’s systems such as navigation and tracking radars, depth sounders, compasses, ship’s logs, Inertial Navigation Systems, AIS receivers, GPS receivers and the platforms combat system.
The system has been installed on 59 Royal Navy ships, 10 submarines, 16 fast patrol boats, 5 SIFs (Shore Integration Facilities), two maintainer training schools, three submarine command team trainers and the surface fleet operator training school. WECDIS installations are planned for a total of 90 platforms including 10 submarines. The design solution minimises through life costs by enabling common training, maintenance and support strategies, yet is flexible enough to be installed on 19 different ship and submarine classes and their myriad of legacy sensors.
By presenting an integrated electronic navigation picture WECDIS greatly reduces navigator workload and increases situational and tactical awareness for the ship’s crew. The Royal Navy has enthusiastically embraced WECDIS with all but two submarines now cleared for digital navigation meaning they no longer routinely carry paper charts on the bridge.
WECDIS is unique among electronic charting systems in that it remains fully functional in polar regions where the normal latitude and longitude system of positioning is replaced by a polar grid. WECDIS will continue to give full situational awareness and navigational functionality to Royal Navy submarines that deploy to the North Pole and ships that deploy to the Antarctic.
The next stage for WECDIS will see it fitted to almost the entire UK submarine fleet and used for subsurface navigation. WECDIS will give submarine captains and navigators a picture of their environment they have never had before.
Lockheed Martin UK is proud to be part of a system that is bringing such revolutionary changes and benefits to the way the Royal Navy navigates their fleet of warships
Our WECDIS Partners:
- Kelvin Hughes Ltd
- Babcock Design and Technology Ltd
- Offshore Systems Ltd