Since the 1970s, LACROIX Defense provided decoys solutions to more than 30 navies around the world. If their products are very common on surface ships, LACROIX signals and decoys are also integrated into every French designed submarines, including those sold and built in India, Brazil or Australia. Today, LACROIX is working on new signals and decoys compatible with French and German designed submarines.
LACROIX Submarine Launched Devices
The range of submarine launched devices made by LACROIX covers different signals as well as sonar decoys:
- Signals are employed by submarines as a means of signaling or identification with respect to aircraft and surface vessels. They also serve to transmit, for example, according to NATO codes, information regarding a submarine attack simulation. Lastly, they send a distress signal by means of a red star rocket.
- The sonar decoys generate a false sonar echo to evade detection by surface ships, submarines, helicopter dipping sonars and torpedoes. Initially developed by the military arsenal, the technically advanced pyrotechnic products have integrated LACROIX’s product portfolio for over 20 years.
On French designed submarines, signals and decoys are embedded outside the pressure hull. Considering that signals are pyrotechnics items, such a configuration increases overall security. Their types and numbers are then determined in advance for each mission.
Submarine launched signals
There is a wide variety of signals used by submarines used to indicate the submarine position or to transmit a mutual agreed code to surrounding naval and air forces:
- Red, green or yellow stars: high visibility colored star signals sent at an altitude of around 50m, during approximately 15 seconds.
- White smoke and flame (day/night): smoke and flame signal, during approximately 7 minutes.
- Colored smoke: colored smoke signals for day use only, with an effect duration of 2 minutes.
Submarine launched anti-sonar decoys
Alongside the variety of signals, submarines also carry anti-sonar decoys. Those are underwater countermeasure to decoy active sonars from helicopters, surface ships, submarines and active-homing torpedoes.
The underwater decoys deploy bubbles, creating anti-sonar seduction false echoes.
New signals and decoys for French and German built submarines
For now, LACROIX’s family of signals and decoys are only compatible with the external launchers of the French designed submarines. They can therefore be found in France, Malaysia, India or Brazil, and will be integrated aboard the next Australian Attack-class submarines. But for now, those underwater launched devices are not compatible with some of the best selling submarines in the world, the German TKMS Type 209 and Type 214.
According to LACROIX representatives, the French company is working on new generation of signals and decoys, aiming to replace models currently in use on French submarines. This new family of product will be designed from scratch with a consideration for standardization:
- The new signals and decoys will be compatible with the external launchers of the French submarines, but also with the launcher tubes of the German submarines. A small interface equipment could be integrated on every ammunition. This new family of devices will then be compatible with more than a hundred submarines worldwide.
- The various models of next generation signals and decoys will share as many components as possible. This new design philosophy will reduce their production cost and facilitate maintenance/repairs.
- The new design will offer increased safety for the launching systems requiring handling inside the submarine hull. LACROIX has extensive civilian and military experience in the field of pyrotechnical devices, with an excellent safety record.
- Finally, LACROIX’s experience in flares, signals and fireworks will allow for increased performances for the colored star signals. Next generation stars will have vastly improved terminal effects: higher altitude zenith, brighter signals, longer effect duration, etc.
LACROIX already identified several customers outside the current users of French submarines. With a wider market, signals and decoys could be build on a new industrial level, reducing the production costs. These devices will then benefits from the new service offer of LACROIX, focusing on optimized ammunition management.