If the bridge of a ship is considered its brain, then warships could be considered somewhat schizophrenic: IROQUOIS has both a bridge, from where the ship is directed during normal operations, and also an Ops room, from where the ship is fought and all the combat sensors and weapons are directed. In IROQUOIS, I didn't manage to photograph the latter compartment (though I did on TORONTO, to be featured in a future posting), but I did manage to tour the bridge.
Having never served in the Navy, my descriptions of the bridge will be somewhat limited. Any feedback I receive will be added in due course.
|View from the bridge, overlooking the 76mm gun and foc'st'le.|
The bridge is located high on the forward end of the main superstructure, and overlooks both the 76mm gun and the 29-cell Mk.41 vertical launch system on the foc'st'le (hidden behind the gun shield in the photo above). It provides good visibility looking forward, port and starboard, and limited visibility aft (blocked by the funnel and hangar).
|CO's chair looking to port.|
The CO sits up front on the port side, with a SHINCOM (Ship Integrated Communications) panel to the CO's right. The flat panel TV in front of the CO's chair will have been a relatively recent addition.
|CO's chair looking port and aft.|
Immediately behind the CO's chair is a communications station that accommodates three SHINCOM panels.
|Bridge communications station.|
The three SHINCOM panels are located side-by-side running port to starboard, and appear to be operated by two personnel based on the number of chairs present. There is some sort of sonar control box mounted near the top left of the image - I am told this is for the underwater telephone for communicating with submerged submarines (presumably the AN/WQC-2 "Gertrude" or a more modern version).
Aft again from the communications station is a chair for a flag officer, on those occasions when one is embarked.
|Flag officer's chair looking forward and to starboard.|
I'm not sure what allowances were present in the original IROQUOIS class configuration, but the final TRUMPed configuration is intended to accommodate a flag officer and task group command staff, and the bridge has a chair for the flag officer. The flag officer's chair received its own SHINCOM panel to the left of the chair. The bridge communications station can be seen to the left (forward of which is the CO's chair), and the helm station can be seen in the centre background of the image.
|Bridge helm station looking to starboard.|
|Bridge helm station: helm is on the left, throttle station on the right.|
I have covered the ship's helm and steering in a previous post, so I won't cover it in detail here. However, I will comment on the photo immediately above - in that previous post, I had indicated I didn't have a better photo of the helm and throttle stations, but then I found this photo, so I will have to update the previous post. The throttle station on the bridge is one of four in the ship, and provides direct throttle control for the two main and two cruise gas turbines in the engine room. The screen at this station will provide some of the machinery control system (MCS) readouts available in the MCR.
|Forward bridge, starboard side, looking to port.|
On the starboard side of the bridge there is a radar display (not sure which radar it is associated with, though I assume the navigation sets), and above there is a status panel for a variety of things such as: man overboard, fire, gyros, and the variable depth sonar (VDS) which was removed from all ships of this class several years ago.
|Raytheon radar display and SHINCOM panel (to the left).|
Above is a close-up of the Raytheon radar display. I assume this is for one of the navigation radars, or perhaps can display output from more than one of the ship's radars.
|Looking to port from the starboard side.|
Aft of the radar display is a chart table.
|On the bridge centreline is a station for coordinating helicopter operations.|
Between the Raytheon radar display and the CO's chair is a station for coordinating helicopter launch and recovery operations. The dials at the top right indicate wind speed and direction, the box with the red display provides ship's speed, and the grey box in the middle between the windows has switches with labels such as "Launch", "Recover", "helo AIRBOURNE", and "helo ONBOARD". To the left of that is a smaller box for controlling the window wipers. I wonder if this was the original location of the helm and throttle stations before the TRUMP refit.
|AN/SPA-25F PP remote indicator (radar display).|
Almost immediately aft of the helo operations station in the previous photo is this radar display. The AN/SPA-25F is a Range-Azimuth Indicator has a 10-inch screen "...designed for any standard Navy search radar system..." and can accept inputs from up to seven radar installations. To the left of the display unit is a selector switch for the LW-08 (long range air search), DA-08 (air/surface search), and Mk.127E (Sperry navigation set, of which there are two) radars. The glare shield on the display is optional, and may allow its use during night operations, or perhaps is required during the bright of day.
On the back bulkhead on the centreline is this desk. The SHINCOM panel is labelled "BOSNMATE".
When they first arrived on the scene in the early 1970s, the bridge on the IROQUOIS class must have seemed like heaven compared to the bridges of the previous class of destroyers. Instead of a cramped bridge with only voice communication with the wheelhouse several decks below, and communication with the engine room via telegraph, these ships came on the scene with not only direct helm and throttle control, but also room for multiple radar displays and other items. While large well-equipped warship bridges are very common these days, this would have been fairly rare in the early 1970s, especially for the previous steam powered generation of destroyers in various navies.
|Looking forward and to starboard across the bridge.|
Although the layout has changed, the large bridge and general concepts were also carried over to the HALIFAX class frigates 20 years later.