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Iqbal Ahmed

The end of the Cold War eliminated much of the justification for maintaining IUSS at its full capability, with the existence and capabilities of SOSUS and IUSS being declassified in 1991.
We are not on a war footing and I see no reason to cause disagreements with other countries by laying an extensive network of sensors, unless done exclusively in our own waters.


Yeah right… we will submit your candidacy for National Security Advisor.
What a load of horse hockey.


Iqbal, you must live in a very utopian world.
Out current ASW force is too small, too few ships and especially submarines to work too much ocean. These forces cannot be created at the drop of a hat and crews trained and given experience.
Meanwhile hostile nations continue to grow their forces and carry out hostile acts.
I presume you have written a strongly worded postcard to the Kremlin and Beijing to ask them to to adhere to your peace and loving policy?


Most of the Seas and Ocean are outside any countries 12 mile limit. So all countries are at liberty to lay sensors. I would be shocked if the east has not at least attempted to put sensors off the west cost of Scotland and in the Western Approaches.


exactly, spot on………just another good bit of knowledge shown from Iqbal (again)


You have to remember that Iqbal is fundimentally anti-British. He wants this country reduced to a third rate, or fourth rate power like Austria. He wants the Royal Navy cut down until nothing is left and it can’t threaten his beloved masters overseas.
Therefore anything that is talking about capabilities he will say we don’t need them (regardless the actual truth). If there is any chance to make the navy look bad he will jump on it (even if it means bitching about things like “carriers without fighters,” I can only imagine well aware of the fact that they exist in that state due to cost cutting measures he’d have been first to advocate).
He doesn’t want more forces to be created at a drop of a hat if we need them. He wants us to not have them ever so we can’t impede the march of his beloved Islamic State, nor of his paymaster Putin.


In the cold war there were regular armed incursions on outlying places!

Ian Willis

Iqbal is spot on. We should look beyond Cold War paranoia and strengthen our surface ASW fleet with the resources we have.
There is no evidence China or Russia have the technology to deploy these sensors or the political will to do so near our country.

Toby J

But underwear arrays, by the sound of this article, provide a much more useful capability than frigates in strategic terms at a fraction of the cost.
If China or Russia can’t use these sensors for whatever reason (I doubt it’s a moral dilemma for them) then we should thank our lucky stars rather than willingly putting ourselves at a disadvantage.

Andrew de Mowbray

Naive beyond comprehension. The reason for defence is deterrence and countering exiting threats. You might have missed the past few years of Putin and China’s cyber/territorial empire building in Ukraine and waters around Japan..the Cold War never ended, just as islamic fascism has and will not. Defence is an ongoing necessity-as for we’re not on a war footing, tell that to those daily blown apart by islam across the globe and the sociopath Putin flexing his (going by the topless photos) flabby muscles. Wake up to 21st century planet Earth – it’s an ugly situation.


i deeply admire the submariners and we should seriously be on our guard against Russian aggression. excellent article, thanks


The UK is the “Naval Bastion” of NATO. Recent plane and naval incursions from Russia prove that the “old game” is back on…if we want it or not. UK should do well re-assessing it’s defense posture. BREXIT does not mean that the UK will be able to return to some kind of “splendid isolation”. These days are long gone and were unproductive anyway.Now, what does the UK need in terms of defense is of course a national policy but as an outsider I would say to put your money on a strong Navy first, the Airforce second and the Army as a third. The next problem that has to be solved is this tendency of protracted policy, not uncommon in other european nations like France who seem to change direction at every windchange. The two carriers will be the cornerstone, they are flexible assets and can tackle missions a frigate can’t do. These two carriers should be given all the means they need to do the job, in close collaboration with the US. ( F35 and surely an ASW and AEW version of the MV22 ), just like the famous SEA-KING with the british version outpacing the original one. Brits are good at that, making US equipment better! Next I would urge you britons to have a look at the Italian Navy who seems able to produce ships and means on an intelligent basis and actually taking over some british idea’s, like their new 25000t amphibious carrier who looks quite british and has huge potential.Two of these would strengthen the fleet enormously at reasonable cost. Disinvesting in nuclear boomers with are more a pride thing than really useable might free up funds to reactivate a true submarine force to counter russian and other countries capabilities but making these boats also able to strike inland would generate a true intervention force. And last, Brits can not do it alone, working with the dutch, danish and belgian fleets woud be a game changer if a close cooperation could be activated. Dutch, danish and belgians could deliver escorts and other assets were the Royal Navy would be weaker. Just an idea…


In one hand you acknowledge that ‘The old game is back on’ and the Russians are a threat, then state we should give up the CASD.
I thought it was only politicians who didn’t think things through properly?
Also, if you truly believe that the UK is NATO’s naval bastion, perhaps look at the assets we have and compare them to the US.


Iqbal….what are you doing on this site? This is aimed at people who care about the RN and our countries defence in general, get yourself a hobby!

Geoffrey Hicking

Today, Christmas day, is the anniversary of the sinking of SS Agberi and U-87. People probably won’t be on the site today, but if you are, then please feel free to have a look and remember.

Bloke down the pub

In event of heightened tensions, the rapid conversion of commercial vessels such as offshore supply ships or large trawlers, to carry a containerised towed array sonar eg or would seem to be a sensible step.


That still wouldn’t solve the problem of trained operators. This kit isn’t kept stacked on a warehouse shelf either. I would imagine several months lead time at the very minimum.
In addition, preventing a conflict by projecting strength is one of the main roles of a nations armed forces.

Bloke down the pub

You’re right, it isn’t kept on a warehouse shelf but the point is, it could be and at much lower cost than dozens of extra frigates. Agree too that training operatives would be a priority but in this computer generated alternate reality that lots of youngsters live in today, I’d have thought that’d be right up their street.


If it were right up their street then I think we could presume they would be in the AFCO right now and solving some of the retention issues.
Frigates are expensive, but sometimes you have to invest in your assets. Unfortunately this government and others would rather privatise equipment, infrastructure and jobs. I will leave you to ponder why.


bit more to it than playing on a computer. Years of study and training to understand oceanography, marine acoustics and their application to military operations to be effective. Computers are just tools, fantastically powerful ones, but just tools none the less and useless without skilled operators to use them. In the UK the branches have merged as well, so we expect hydrographers to be meteorologists as well, further lengthening the training pipeline.


I agree with STRN. We are more vulnerable than ever. There is no depth to anything. Fewer merchant vessels carrying ever larger loads are easier prey and the world’s just in time inventory means everything grinds to a halt in double quick time. Big problem no one wants to even think about.


Quite the reverse to the comments of this being where peacetime savings should be made. The SOSUS/SURTASS nets are significant force multipliers.
Simply put, if you have an ability to sanitise large sections of seaspace with a surveillance asset, you know you dont have to put patrol assets in there. Effectively you can deploy and direct smaller ASW forces in a more efficient and effective manner.
The analogy is the advantage that AWACS gives to a defending fighter team. If you know where and when to position your forces you can do more with less. RN has access to SOSUS data clearly, but, the ability to have mobile, focused, long range UW coverage independent of that is a simply a ‘good idea’.
I’ve been an advocate of an RN SURTASS capability, similar to that the Japanese have deployed with their Hibiki-class, for a couple of decades. Now is precisely the time to bring that in…before anyone antagonstic has their bluewater SSN fleet really back up to speed.
I’m very sceptical about the idea that there are ‘advances in UW comms’ as mentioned in the article though. UW ‘wireless’ is dependent on acoustic modem technology and the problems with that providing high datarates over any realistic distance are fundamental. The signal to noise ratio (SNR) has to overcome the background sea/ocean noise floor. That requires a good deal of power behind the signal, which requires a significant power source, and makes it less than discrete. I’ve not heard of any new laws of physics being discovered that fundamentally alters the situation here.

william moore ET1

I served in Gtmo, Cuba for 3 years at AAWC which was followed by 3 years at COMOCEANSYSLANT. Best duty ever!