Saturday, January 15, 2005

Killing AIP Submarines in the Littorals

A hot topic in naval circles is how to deal with enemy diesel submarines, especially those with air independent propulsion (they don’t need snorkels anymore, a key weakness of older diesels). My thought is to update the hunter-killer jeep carrier groups of WW II. Only this time, we use unmanned, long duration UAVs such as Global Hawk. Arm them with sonobuoys and a Mark 46 lightweight torpedo. Now we have it wait just outside the 12 mile limit for a sub to leave its homeport and simply shadow it 24/7! Having a hard datum to begin with, we simply continuously update that datum. Typically we’d use a radar (or maybe a green laser lidar) to detect the wake, or infrared imaging to pick up the waste heat from its propulsion system. If it should stop, we drop a sonobuoy for active pinging. That way we always know where it is. And if we stay high enough, we’re out of range of shoulder fired missiles! So they can’t bother us. Currently, the Mark 46 has a proximity sensor to release its parachute a bit above the surface (watch The Hunt For Red October). Add a second, similar one set for higher altitude and we can delay deployment of the parachute! So, for example, we drop at 10,000 feet, the chute deploys at 500 feet and releases at 50 feet. The free fall would improve accuracy by reducing response time and it would reduce the distance from the last good datum, both improving the chances of a kill! So we know where they are and have the standoff distance to be safe, but can kill them in seconds. And zero American lives are at stake!


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