[Rushtalk] Next Generation Anti Submarine Tracking

Carl Spitzer lynux at keepandbeararms.com
Wed Aug 5 03:05:00 MDT 2015

Hope it doesn't run Windows!!!

US Navy to Deploy Robot Ships to Track Chinese and Russian Subs

Work on the U.S. Navy’s new anti-submarine drone is progressing and
that’s bad news for diesel-electric subs. 

By Franz-Stefan Gady
June 30, 2015
Diesel-electric submarines are cheaper and quieter than their nuclear
counterparts and they are rapidly being procured by states opposed to
the national interests of the United States.

While not capable of traveling long distances or at great speed,
diesel-electric submarines have the potential to deny the U.S. Navy
access to strategic coastal areas and could also interrupt seaborne
commerce. Equipped with air-independent propulsion systems and advanced
lithium-ion batteries, the next generation of diesel-electric boats will
even be harder to track down and destroy in the event of a naval

“Picking up the quiet hum of a battery-powered, diesel-electric
submarine in busy coastal waters is like trying to identify the sound of
a single car engine in the din of a major city,” Rear Admiral Frank
Drennan, commander of the Naval Mine and Anti-Submarine Warfare Command,
emphasized in March 2015.

Consequently, the United States military has been exploring options for
some time now how to best counter this emerging asymmetrical threat.

Back in 2010, the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
(DARPA), an agency responsible for developing emerging technologies for
the military’s use, initiated a research project to develop an
anti-submarine drone — a robot ship capable of tracking enemy subs in
shallow waters.

The prototype of the U.S. Navy’s robot ship, the Anti-Submarine Warfare
Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV), is designed to operate
autonomously for 60 to 90 days straight, surveil large stretches of
ocean territory and — should an enemy sub be spotted — guide other U.S.
naval assets to the vessel’s location to destroy it (the ACTUV itself is
unarmed). The ACTUV prototype, named Sea Hunter, will be ready for
extensive sea-trials in the fall of 2015, according to Defense One.

DARPA’s website outlines that the ACTUV’s “objective is to generate a
vessel design that exceeds state-of-the art platform performance to
provide propulsive overmatch against diesel electric submarines at a
fraction of their size and cost.”

Furthermore, the ACTUV program is trying to fulfill the following

         Advance unmanned maritime system autonomy to enable
        independently deploying systems capable of missions spanning
        thousands of kilometers of range and months of endurance under a
        sparse remote supervisory control model. This includes
        autonomous compliance with maritime laws and conventions for
        safe navigation, autonomous system management for operational
        reliability, and autonomous interactions with an intelligent

Autonomous compliance with maritime laws requires the correct
identification of surface ships and other objects while at sea. DARPA is
in the process of developing non-conventional sensor technologies for
that purpose and issued a Request for Information (RFI) back in March

DARPA program manager Ellison Urban, quoted by Defense One, explains the
rationale behind the U.S. Navy’s push for robot ships:

         Instead of chasing down these submarines and trying to keep
        track of them with expensive nuclear powered-submarines, which
        is the way we do it now, we want to try and build this at
        significantly reduced cost. It will be able to transit by itself
        across thousands of kilometers of ocean and it can deploy for
        months at a time. It can go out, find a diesel-electric
        submarine, and just ping on it.

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