The Submarine’s Role in Reprioritizing Antisubmarine Warfare Tasks
By Captain James H. Patton Jr., U.S. Navy (Retired)
The open literature and multiple conferences on antisubmarine warfare (ASW), convey the message that recent technological advances in sensors would render potential torpedo attacks by non-nuclear submarines against high-value U.S. targets virtually ineffective. The literature also speaks of indications that many nations—China, for example—have converted up to 80 percent of their front-line diesel-electric submarines to firing modern, long-range antiship cruise missiles (ASCMs) such as the jointly developed Indian-Russian stealthy hypersonic BrahMos cruise missile. It would appear that U.S. high-value units will indeed not be at great risk from torpedo attack. Once again, submarines have proven to be the ultimate noncooperative target—by choosing not to operate in a manner that makes them vulnerable.