Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Friday, March 04, 2005

Diesel Sub ASW

Winds of Change has an interesting discussion of the diesel submarine threat and U.S. Navy response posted today. Also, JINSA has up a really good recap of the issues and plans surrounding the U.S. Navy's upcoming lease of a Swedish submarine and crew for ASW training. Excerpts:

"The AIP-equipped Gotland-class submarine, one of five in Swedish service, will be stationed at the United States Naval Base at Point Loma in San Diego, and will be involved in training exercises in both the Pacific and Atlantic. Officials expect the information gained in the training operations to enhance American sonar technology and to lead to the establishment of a solid bank of operational experience versus AIP-equipped subs. Rear Admiral Donald Bullard, Director of Readiness and Training for Fleet Forces Command, said, “This will vastly improve our capability to conduct realistic, effective antisubmarine warfare (ASW) training [and further]... our efforts in developing coalition ASW tactics, techniques and procedures.”
"The U.S. Navy is concerned that “rogue” states and terrorist organizations will acquire this capability because it is far less expensive to build and operate diesel-electric submarines with the AIP system than nuclear submarines. Countries that operate AIP-equipped submarines include Sweden, Germany, Greece, Italy, Pakistan, and Russia. The Spanish Navy has funded a three-part process of researching and developing AIP systems for its new S-80 submarines, four of which are scheduled to be commissioned between 2005 and 2014. These submarines are expected to cost some $650 million each...

..."With the former Soviet submarine fleet largely left to rust at their moorings, ASW had not been a large concern until recently, when AIP submarines became more operationally effective and relatively easy to obtain. Only Swedish naval personnel will operate the Swedish ship, but there will be a handful of U.S. Navy researchers onboard to study the different features of the submarine. Kauderer said that Swedish submarine’s operations would most likely begin with basic exercises in which the U.S. mission will be to locate the sub and then become more complex to the point where the Swedish sub will be used against an entire carrier strike group, consisting of one carrier, destroyers, cruisers, and one nuclear attack submarine.
"Admiral Vern Clark, Chief of Naval Operations, has strongly stressed the need for an improvement in ASW. He has overseen the establishment of three new programs to further the training of sailors: Fleet ASW Command, based out of San Diego; Task Force ASW, based out of Washington, D.C., which will study ASW and come up with a plan to better the training of sailors; and the Program Executive Office for Integrated Warfare Systems at Naval Sea Systems Command, which is in charge of researching, developing, and acquiring new technology to assist in ASW. The three are responsible for studying current ASW training exercises, capabilities, and weaknesses, and recommending different options for improving upon them. New operational techniques and new technology, some which had not been tested before, were to be put to use during an exercise called “Undersea Dominance ’04,” These exercises involved many different types of ships. Admiral Clark, as reported by The Navy League of the United States quoted Clark in their October 2004 issue of Sea Power as wanting to “fundamentally change ASW operations away from individual platforms - ship, submarine or aircraft - to a system with the attributes of ‘pervasive awareness, persistence and speed, all enabled by technological agility.’”

It'll be interesting to see if they'll let the diesel boat operate at full capacity, or if they'll "handicap" it like they do with U.S. submarines when they do exercises against surface ships.

Going deep...


Anonymous Kilo Whiskey said...

I know people get ticked off at the opposition of the nucs to diesel boats, but there is an important point to consider.

All of the scenarios that show diesel boats doing a terrific job contain within them a key implicit assumption. The assumption is that the diesel boat is there.

Woody Allen said that 80% of success is just showing up. The problem with diesel boats is that it's hard for them to show up. Once they're there, they show themselves to advantage. It's getting there that is the problem,

3/04/2005 7:08 PM

Blogger Zoe Brain said...

Kilo Mike : Truth *cough*

Of course, if there's an area where 99% of the time having a submarine there would be a good idea - say around North Korea or the Persian Gulf - then it makes sense to have diesels as well as nukes.

Re : Swedish Boats
As regards the Swedish subs, I think USN nukes might get a very unpleasant surprise or two.

I hope so, anyway. They should do if I've done my job. I have some software on those boats' sonar suite - both a little actual code, and a lot more design input.

Even more interesting would be to test them against SSBNs. Of course, the results in either case won't be made public, so I'll never know.

Certainly, I'd highly recommend that USN nuke drivers and prospective ones have a turn on them, just to see what the advantages and disadvantages are. I absolutely guarantee they'll learn a lot.

3/06/2005 3:56 PM

Blogger Zoe Brain said...

For Mike read Whiskey.

And make mine a double.

3/06/2005 3:57 PM


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