China’s efforts to counter the threat posed by U.S. attack submarines highlight the need for the U.S. to develop new strategies and capabilities. With advancements in anti-submarine technologies such as sonar arrays and low-frequency active sonars, the U.S. can no longer rely solely on stealth to conduct undersea missions. Strategies including employing jamming, decoys, and deception will be essential to navigate contested areas. The use of uncrewed underwater vehicles (UUVs) and a shift towards a more collaborative and chaotic approach between various naval platforms could be the future of U.S. submarine operations.
- China’s Anti-Submarine Efforts: China has been working on improving its anti-submarine warfare capabilities for over a decade. It has deployed sonar arrays, active sonars, and protective measures around sensitive areas, aiming to neutralize U.S. submarines’ stealth advantages.
- New Operational Concepts Needed: The U.S. will need to adopt new strategies to maintain its edge in submarine warfare. This includes using jamming, decoys, deception, and destruction to confuse or suppress enemy undersea sensors and mines, and utilizing a combination of crewed and uncrewed platforms.
- Uncrewed Underwater Vehicles (UUVs): Utilizing large, medium, and small UUVs can help the U.S. to gather intelligence, deploy acoustic jammers, radar and sonar decoys, and explosive warheads without compromising the submarines’ weapon capacity or likelihood of detection.
- Enhanced Combat Systems Required: U.S. submarines must develop improved combat systems that can predict the effectiveness of enemy attacks and guide new counter-torpedo weapons. This will require a more comprehensive approach involving collaboration between various naval platforms, both manned and unmanned.
- Challenges in Enemy Territory: Navigating the most contested areas will still pose threats like undersea mines, requiring the deployment of specialized UUVs for mine detection or destruction. The U.S. must adapt to generate noise and chaos rather than relying on silence, integrating teamwork with various naval assets to ensure mission success.