unassailable ‘fit & forget’ pressure moulded cable systems for hostile environments


HMS Victorius

As the only manufacturer to hold UK MoD Capability Approval for the design and manufacture of pressure hull glands, SMI has been supporting submarine operations for three decades.

As submarine capabilities develop, the demand is for increased data rates and higher bandwidth. The TelemetriX™ architecture brings together power, control, high frequency, and optical capabilities to optimise system performance and safeguard essential systems. Surface and submarine fleets integrating TelemetriX™ into their technology can expect long service lives with full operational reliability.

Telemetrix logo

TelemetriX™ products were developed for future naval capabilities but are being retrofitted to platforms to enable early deployment of pioneering tactical technologies and ensure reliability.

Many nations have prioritised control of territorial waters and stepped up their investment in submarine and anti-submarine fleets. Older platforms are increasingly subject to life extension programmes whilst future submarines are being designed with ever more complex combat systems and operational capabilities.

This drive towards increased submarine capacity is accompanied by a marked shift in how the backbone infrastructure is considered. Changing demands are driving fresh thinking and a demand for high reliability in cable systems which then deliver the performance promise of the sonar and combat system over the whole operational life of the submarine.

Historically considered almost a commodity, inboard and outboard cabling has been left to Prime Contractors to scope and install. With a growing recent history of serious failures in service, OEMs are demanding greater importance be attached to the supporting architecture. Cabling increasingly recognised as the central nervous system of any platform.

The Economics of Considering Through Life Cost

The Royal Netherlands Navy is the first in the world to apply through life costing to the build of its new boat in the Walrus class replacement.

Separation of initial capital investment and operational costs into different government funding schemes and budgets has traditionally disguised the cost of replacing failing cables, allowing poor technical selections to be made based on initial economy but carrying a lifetime of replacement burden and repair costs which fail to deliver value for money. Manufacturers profiting from poor product supply.

Failing cables have driven a thriving economy with some manufacturers able to produce cables time and again, replacing repeatedly as leaks occur and systems / platform failures result. With essential navigation, sonar and weapons systems repeatedly falling out of service – there’s no other option but to replace cable sets.

Tired of being hostages to fortune and with defence budgets across the world under pressure, astute naval engineers are now evaluating based on through life costs, looking for fit and forget solutions which remain reliable throughout the life of the platform.

SMI delivers a heritage of reliability, tens of thousands of installations with zero leaks. Encouraged to move away from a 10 year design life mentality, instead demanding 10 year Warranties and a guarantee of performance over the long term. Rightly, manufacturers are being asked not for rhetoric but assurances.

By designing in appropriate technologies and selecting right first time, every time, manufacturers should be able to not only eradicate cable leaks, but plug porous defence budgets too.

One of the founding members of our company worked on the first pressure hull glands for submarines in the 1950’s and we have been expertly associated with them ever since.

Pressure hull glands have to be a specific mix of durability and reliability, adhering to incredibly strict tolerances and specifications as these penetrate the hull of the vessel and have to endure high pressures over continued dives and rapid ascents. We have held the Capability Approval on these from the MoD for nearly 20 years continuously and we know of no other company worldwide who can make that statement.

Our “fit and forget” products have been in service for 25 years with zero leaks as evidence from the Royal Navy shows. This is founded on thermoplastic moulding technology where the moulding is pressure injected at temperature and fully amalgamates to the cable jacket and chemically bonds to the gland stem.

The cost of rectification for any of these products that fail significantly outweighs the upfront cost so you need to know that the systems will not fail and that’s what we can promise with our 100% record and zero leaks across 10,000 installations.

Naturally all products for submarine applications are bespoke so we encourage early engagement with our design engineers so that customers can benefit from product expertise, application experience and the economies associated with designed-for-manufacture intelligence.