Navy Will Take 'Asymmetric' Approaches in Undersea Warfare

Navy Will Take 'Asymmetric' Approaches in Undersea Warfare image
June 26, 2015 | Source: NDIA National Defense Magazine

Navy submarines will employ asymmetric warfare tactics to combat future adversaries, the commander of U.S. submarine forces said May 14.

The goal is to counter enemies equipped with "anti-access/aerial-denial" weapons that are being developed by countries like China. "We have intelligent adversaries and we fully expect they will attempt to extend anti-access/aerial-denial below the surface of the water ... it's important for us that we anticipate that that is coming," said Vice Adm. Michael J. Connor, commander of U.S. submarine forces and allied submarine command. "In fact we hope that it comes ... because someone who's trying to use A2/AD against a submarine force is going to spend a lot of money."

The Navy's submarine forces are looking at acoustic technology that can be programmed to imitate sounds produced by a U.S. submarine or an adversary's submarine to confuse enemies. They are also investing in decoy buoys that resemble a submarine periscope, Connor said during a forum, "The Future of the Silent Service," at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington, D.C. think tank. 

"Those types of decoys cost a little less than $3,000. If I can make people drop $1 million torpedoes on $3,000 things that look like submarines, we're on the right side of this asymmetric business," said Connor. "And when we leverage that with the ambiguity of 'do I have something or not' … we can make an adversary realize that the cost of going to war at sea with us is going to be severe."