A new generation of technologies is emerging with the potential to change the nature of undersea warfare, warns one naval analyst, and the US Navy needs to not just develop and employ the new tools, but also needs to change its operational concepts.
“We need to think about a new strategy for undersea warfare,” said Bryan Clark, a former submariner and Navy strategist now with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.
“Right now we tend to rely on submarines doing tactical operations on their own, in an environment where they can operate largely with impunity. All those things are going to change in the future,” he told reporters Jan. 22 in Washington. “The threat is going to improve, opportunities to offload missions onto other vehicles are going to improve, and we can take advantage of that if we’re going to again be the first mover into this new technology of undersea networks, unmanned vehicles and communication technologies.”
Clark, in a new report on the emerging era in undersea warfare, urges the adoption of new technologies and a different approach to anti-submarine warfare (ASW).
New passive sonar technology is increasing detection ranges, he noted, and greatly improved processors can filter out background noise to reveal a target. But the targets themselves are ever-quieter, with some subs employing active noise-canceling technologies, making then increasingly hard to find via traditional acoustic methods.