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Drug Subs-More Reasons to Worry

February 26, 2009

semi-subStrategypage details some troubling statistics about the drug-running semi-submersibles from South America:

Between 2000 and 2007, 23 of these boats were spotted. But last year, nearly 70 were seen or captured. Many of the captures are the result of intelligence information at the source, not air and naval patrols out there just looking for them. These boats are hard to spot (by aircraft or ships), which is why they are being used more often…

Despite increased efforts, it’s believed that less than ten percent of these subs have been caught…At one point it was thought that as many as half of them were captured or lost at sea.

Though not all the news is bad:

These subs are not stealthy enough to avoid detection all the time, and the U.S. is working to tweak search radars, and other types of sensors, to more reliably detect the drug subs…Increased maritime patrols, and infiltration of drug gangs in Colombia, has led to a significant increase in captures of these boats.

For the future there may be greater cause for concern:

But the stealthy boats are a concern to counter-terror officials. Bombs and terrorists can be transported in these vessels, and the technology for building them can be, and perhaps already has, spread. The technology is improving as well. Recently captured boats had a system installed that cooled the engine exhaust, making it more difficult for infrared (heat) sensors to sport it.

So here’s hoping the terrorists don’t get any ideas, though it appears the Tamil Tigers had a few before they were chased off the Sri Lankan coastline. And I don’t think our carriers and missile battleships can handle this one.

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