Submarine Threat Worse Than You Think
I am out this week caring for my father who is in the hospital. Please enjoy this golden oldie post, related to the recent Cheonan sinking apparently by a North Korean minisub, and the sudden rebirth of interest in anti-submarine warfare. The problem may be a bit more complicated than just brushing up on some neglected skills. From 2007 here are “5 Signs the Modern Submarine Rules the Waves“:
In a recent posting I listed the 5 Reasons the Aircraft Carrier is Obsolete. Today I point out the true capital ship in modern war at sea, an old but new weapon called the submarine.
1). The West has fallen seriously behind in anti-submarine warfare. After the collapse of the Soviet Empire, and the subsequent downgrading of the Red submarine fleet, America and Britain discarded the bulk of their anti-sub forces. In the last World War it took thousands of warships and aircraft to defeat the U-boat menace, but America and Britain are currently gutting their fleets to pay for ever larger and more expensive carriers.
2). Today’s modern submarines are vastly more capable than during the World Wars. During those previous conflicts, submarines spent most of the time on the surface and often used their deck guns as much as torpedoes to sink their prey. Today’s nuclear submarines regularly spend months underwater, and cheaper AIP submarine can stay submerged for weeks.
3). Since World War 2 anti-submarine defenses have failed to match the attack boat’s advancements in weaponry. An antisubmarine vessel must get within a few miles of an enemy sub to fire its rockets or torpedoes. Its only long-range defense, the helicopter, is slow and must linger in a vulnerable hover while its sonar buoys seek out their prey. In contrast, a modern submarine can launch its missiles from 75 miles away and farther. Even when the defenses are good, they aren’t full-proof, as proven last year when a Chinese submarine stalked and got within torpedo range of the carrier USS Kitty Hawk.
4). The Submarine is as fast as, and some times betters the speed of antisub ships. Since 1945 the average speed of destroyers have remained at 30 knots, with only nuclear vessels able to maintain this rate for any period. In contrast, the velocity of nuclear attack submarines has tripled and quadrupled from around 10 knots submerged to 30-40 knots since then.
5). Submarines are increasingly duplicating the missions of more vulnerable surface ships. These tasks already include launching unmanned aircraft, long-range surface attack with cruise missiles, and even small landing parties in the form of US Navy SEALs. They are also far harder to detect than giant new Stealth destroyers the Navy plans to build. Finally, if America were to suddenly lose her preeminent surface fleet of carrier groups in such a future conflict, she would still have an excellent and capable submarine force to carry the fight to the enemy.
More-If the above wasn’t enough evidence, this story from last week reveals Lone U-Boat Defeats NATO.