SERO 250 periscope on display at Euronaval
SERO 250 periscope on display at Euronaval
  • SERO 250 periscope cynosure of all eyes in Paris

By Chaitali Bag

Paris. 20 October 2016. For the common man Airbus is the aircraft manufacturer but visitors at Euronaval 2016 were pleasantly surprised to see that a naval application made by it was attracting eyeballs. Airbus DS Optronics has developed the SERO 250 periscope as a cost effective, high performance retrofit solution for the replacement of existing optical periscopes.

Periscopes allow a submarine, when submerged at a relatively shallow depth, to search visually for nearby targets and threats on the surface of the water and in the air. When not in use, a submarine’s periscope retracts into the hull. Frenchman Marie Davey built a simple, fixed naval periscope using mirrors in 1854. Thomas H. Doughty of the US Navy later invented a prismatic version for use in the American Civil War of 1861–65.

Colombia, Peru, the Republic of Korea and Turkey have selected for their Class 209 submarine upgrades, the SERO 250 periscope which  provides an optimal retrofit solution to meet 21st century above water visual system requirements.

Submarines adopted periscopes early. Captain Arthur Krebs adapted two on the experimental French submarine Gymnote in 1888 and 1889. The Spanish inventor Isaac Peral equipped his submarine Peral (developed in 1886 but launched on September 8, 1888) with a fixed, non-retractable periscope that used a combination of prisms to relay the image to the submariner.

sero-250Budget challenges have resulted into many navies operating earlier generation Class 209 submarines and are pursuing service life extension and capability sustainment programmes to maintain the operational relevance of their existing assets. Recognising this trend, Airbus DS Optronics has developed the SERO 250.

Submarines traditionally had two periscopes; a navigation or observation periscope and a targeting, or commander’s, periscope. Navies originally mounted these periscopes in the conning tower, one forward of the other in the narrow hulls of diesel-electric submarines. In the much wider hulls of recent US Navy submarines the two operate side-by-side.

The company has engineered a straightforward ‘drop-in’ installation through the existing hull penetration, avoiding any need for hull modifications and retaining the existing hydraulic hoist mechanisms, bearings and seals. The SERO 250 introduces a compact, state-of-the-art periscope system that integrates high performance optics and, as an option, an infrared camera sensor module. Designed to match the needs of the Class 209 submarine, the SERO 250 is a proven ‘drop-in’ replacement solution that delivers the performance and operability benefits of a true ‘all light/all weather’ capability at an attractive and affordable price.

Chief of Bureau Chaitali bag speaking with Harald Hansen, Director Business Development Sea at Airbus Defence and Space’s Optronics at the show
Chief of Bureau Chaitali Bag speaking with Harald Hansen, Director Business Development Sea at Airbus Defence and Space’s Optronics during the show

Harald Hansen, Director Business Development Sea at Airbus Defence and Space’s Optronics business unit, said, “The dual-axis, stabilised SERO 250 has been designed to meet the increasingly varied and exacting above-water surveillance, ISR and navigation needs of the modern-day submariner. Alongside a direct view optical channel, it introduces the ability to capture high resolution imagery and video under all weather and light conditions. Additionally, it incorporates an RF antenna interface enabling the integration of warfare, V/UHF communications and GPS antennas up mast. ”

The SERO 250 ‘repair by replacement’ model delivers the benefits of a modern periscope while at the same time eliminating the increasing spares and repairs costs associated with the support of legacy systems.

Airbus Defence and Space’s Optronics and the Indian Ministry of Defence had signed a 13 million Euro contract for the delivery of a periscope maintenance facility in Delhi. The dedicated facility will be for the maintenance and repair of all of India’s submarine fleet periscopes and was due to be completed in September 2016. For the implementation of the facility, Airbus Defence and Space is partnering with Tata Consultancy Services and H&H Precision Pvt Ltd.The company has previously established periscope maintenance facilites in Germany, South Korea, Italy and Greece. This Germany based manufacturer has delivered more than 3,000 periscopes and optronic mast systems and is in use by 21 leading naval forces around the world.