The helicopter-dropped torpedo is the primary method employed by navies to prosecute submarine contacts. As underwater threats are increasing and diversifying, at the same time new technology offers alternative ways to counter the submarine. Here we examine some of the options for the Royal Navy.
Undersea data cables are critical to the internet upon which the modern world has come to depend. This hidden network forms the backbone of global communications but is surprisingly vulnerable to interference by hostile actors. Protecting this infrastructure may become an increasingly important remit for the Royal Navy.More
The arrival of HMS Talent in Gibraltar in February fitted with additional sensors on her fin has raised the public awareness of non-acoustic submarine detection methods. Sonar remains the primary means of locating submarines but here we examine what is known about other technologies that may be used in the undersea battle to detect and trail adversary boats.
There is a growing conventional threat to the UK mainland that has received little attention and for which there is very limited defence. Adversaries are increasing cruise missile numbers and capabilities. Air and surface-launched missiles would be difficult to counter but submarine-launched cruise missiles are particularly potent. Here we consider the threat and how the UK could respond.
HMS Kent is currently operating in the Barents Sea with US Navy warships conducting maritime security operations. This is a significant deployment as officially the US Navy says it has not sent surface ships to the area since the mid-1980s.More
In two previous articles (written in 2017) we covered the background, procurement, design and equipping of the Poseidon MRA1 Maritime Patrol Aircraft being purchased by the RAF. With two of the nine aircraft having arrived in the UK in so far, here we provide an update on the progress of this project that is critical to UK naval operations.More
The RN is unlikely to see an increase in its major anti-submarine platforms in the near future. Recognising the danger posed by the continually evolving underwater threat, it has launched ASW Spearhead, an initiative to maximise the effectiveness of the assets its already has. There will be some new hardware, in the form of new sonars but much of the focus is on improving software, building sensor networks and giving the operators new decision-making tools.More
Detecting and destroying submarines will always be a demanding task. By far the best solution for surface ships to destroy enemy submarines is using a helicopter but aircraft cannot fly in all weathers and must undergo maintenance. Warships hunting submarines need every possible tool at their disposal and here we look at what the options are when the helicopter is unavailable.
Critical in the ongoing battle to detect hostile submarines is a little-known network of ocean sensors that support the more visible deployment of frigates and maritime patrol aircraft. Here we examine the history and development of this network, a key to UK maritime power.