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The Chief of Naval Operations has es- at3Hshed antisubmarine warfare (ASW) as the Navy’s highest priority warfare ?rea- That offers a challenge to every ' avy warfare community, but since the to modem ASW is coordinated oper- atl°ns, it offers a special challenge to j!aval aviation. That’s because the real ®rce multiplier in coordinated ASW is ae aircraft.
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Aviation is, in fact, the linchpin in modem ASW; it will be that way in the future too. The well-documented expansion of the Soviet undersea force with its constantly improving use of technology makes the submarine the most insidious and difficult foe at sea today. Without a modern, well-coordinated, combined arms effort, an effort in which air plays a major role, the U. S. Navy cannot prevail in the ASW war. If it cannot prevail in the ASW war, it cannot prevail at sea.
Naval aviation’s role as the principal force multiplier is true for both area and battle group ASW. In either case, it is the aircraft that provides the speed and range to respond to cueing, the mobility to respond to changes in scenario, and the flexibility and sustainability to provide weapons in numbers adequate to fight the ASW war.
Response to Cueing: Modern ASW depends on cueing: some sort of indication that a submarine is in a given area of reasonable dimension. Broad open-ocean search by uncued ASW platforms is inefficient and ineffective. Operations at sea have repeatedly proved this point. But cues of any sort become rapidly less useful as they age. The speed and range of aircraft, whether launched from ship or shore, can follow up on cues when they are fresh and most useful. This allows for rapid prosecution at long distance, especially when the cues are fragmentary and of short duration. The faster the prosecution platform arrives on station, the greater the probability of localization and the less time, effort, and resources required to develop an attack solution.
The Real Force Multiplier: The ability to respond to cues at range with speed is not, however, the only attribute that makes the aircraft the real force multiplier. Aviation extends and improves the capacity and effectiveness of the surface ship and the submarine. The aircraft:
► Allows for the rapid sequencing of targets in high-density area operations, particularly in the early stages of a war
► Facilitates rapid elimination of false contacts without undue expenditure of
A tight, combined ASW effort safeguards the entire battle group. The LAMPS-III’s breakaway mobility enables the group to prosecute contacts quickly and effectively at much less risk to the host platform.
placeable, redeployable, and, m
the system. It provides its associan tie group the organic capability to P1
tion, forcing him to look visually 3 electronically more often. This w* ^
Aviation is the lynchpin in modern ASW, providing the force multipliers that improve the effectiveness of both ships and subs. Clockwise: The carrier-based S-3 Viking (here dropping a Mk-46 Torpedo) and the new §H-60F Seahawk, and the frigate/ cruiser-based SH-2F Seasprite LAMPS-I.
costly weapons. (The experiences of World War II and, more recently, the Falklands Conflict make this point.)
► Increases the range from the battle group at which a submarine can be effectively prosecuted. This adds an important measure of survivability to high-value units, especially against cruise-missile submarines. This pouncer ability also forces the enemy to change his calculation in developing his targeting solution.
► Can conduct crucial command, control, and communications simultaneously with ASW while the main battle force remains relatively covert. This is a vital factor in denying the enemy good positioning or targeting information.
► Is the most survivable and reloadable attack platform. In a war of attrition against a numerically superior submarine force, survivability of U. S. ships and submarines is critical. As the enemy submarine becomes quieter, surface and subsurface engagements will occur at closer range and at higher risk. Aircraft are not only less vulnerable, but they are also more replaceable. Moreover, they are easily reloadable. This is vitally important in war when weapon expenditure rates will be high and submarine and surface ship reloading will become most difficult.
Scenario Response and Tactical Flexibility. Speed, maneuvering, and deception are important battle group ASW options. The ability to maneuver high-value units away from datum or cues at high speed is crucial to battle group survival. Only the aircraft can reposition its sensors in time to cover the constantly changing limiting lines of approach as the battle group maneuvers or varies speed. Other threats or revised missions may also force the battle group to maneuver with little notice. Because force levels rarely allow for full, 360-degree coverage, the battle group must have ASW platforms that are highly maneuverable and redeployable in order to concentrate forces in areas of greatest vulnerability.
Moreover, modem oceanography is on the verge of being able to provide the fleet accurate, discrete, predictive information about ocean dynamics. When such information about ocean fronts, streams, and eddies is combined with acoustic models, the battle force commander will be able to maneuver his force and position his sensors to maximize their usefulness. That may prove difficult with relatively slow-moving surface and subsurface platforms, but the inherent mobility and flexibility of aircraft provide the opportunity to take full advantage of such developing concepts.
Area ASW and Campaign Flexibility: In area ASW—particularly in the early days of any war—tracking, trailing, or marking a very high percentage of at-sea enemy submarines is vital, both as a signal to the enemy and as the initial step in winning the first strike. In many areas, the submarine will be the best platform to conduct continuous tracking. The submarine, however, is severely limited in the number of units it can track simultaneously. Unless the targets are conveniently in proximity, tracking more than one is ships in good ASW waters have also demonstrated a substantial tracking capability. But surface ships, unfortunately- are also severely limited in the number o targets they can track simultaneously- Aviation squadrons, on the other han<J
many separately employable units, 3 squadron can be employed simultanO' ously on many targets, sequentially °n several widely separated targets, or con tinuously on a few targets. In addin0’’’ aircraft can often surprise an enemy sU marine, a capability not usually avails0 to a surface platform. This tactical fiexl bility provides the fleet commander M a variety of options as he positions to 'vin the first strike or to send a strong detef rent message.
In addition, aircraft are rapidly re
ASW scenarios, highly survivable. Eve in contested areas, speed, randornneS ’ and early warning give the aircraft a sur vivability edge. Even if a potential ene ) should develop a counter-ASW aircr weapon of some sort, emerging techn ogy and tactics will likely afford the a craft reasonable safety into the foresee able future. jn
Adaptability also counts heavily- ASW the sensor system is generally 1 more important to keep updated than the platform. As the threat gets qu’et® ’ our sensors must keep pace with ene progress. Generally, the aircraft is eaS to upgrade than are ships and subman0^ Moreover, aircraft can be converted repaired one at a time. This ensures re iness and makes it unnecessary to put. entire tactical unit out of comrmsS during retrofit or overhaul. p. j
Recent Battle Group Experience'- r experience with the LAMPS-III as an ' j tegral part of the SQQ-89 integra^g sonar system confirms much °t above. The SQR-19 towed-array s)'st j affords the surface fleet dramatic3^ improved capability in acoustic A but it is the LAMPS aircraft that nj
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cute contacts quickly and effective’)^ much less risk to the host platform- introduction of the SH-60F will ^ battle group a greatly improved aC.^, acoustic dimension as well. This proved capacity will greatly comp11^ the enemy’s approach and attack s ,
crease the opportunity for non-ae°0 . detection. Aviation’s altitude advan makes the aircraft uniquely suite non-acoustic ASW, and its speed ag
ASW capability aircraft), to be selected later this summer. The LRAACA will have improved range, payload, and time on station capabilities.
Such programs have led to the ever- increasing involvement of naval aviation in ASW. By 1990, 40% of all naval aviators will be involved with ASW and 38.5% of all naval aircraft will have ASW as a primary mission. This commitment is costly and forces hard choices. Naval aviation’s leading priorities have been and will be control of the air and placing ordnance on target. These must remain the primary objectives. Nonetheless, these roles cannot be fulfilled without a serious commitment to ASW. That commitment is important and growing, and will be pervasive throughout U. S. naval aviation.
r,'akes it best suited for rapid response to a°rt duration non-acoustic cues.
At the outer ranges of battle group ^W, the S-3 Viking plays an important and complex role in denying the enemy a Safe haven from which to develop its taring solution. Submarine quieting, owever, makes it imperative that S-3 .ens°rs be substantially updated or that a 'v airframe and sensor system, such as I e Proposed SV-22 Osprey tilt rotor, be . reduced. A tilt-rotor aircraft has some v’°us advantages in terms of the ships °m which it can be staged. It combines any of the best characteristics of rotary nd fixed-wing aircraft. When the tech- r °8y has matured, some kind of tilt- ^ °r aircraft will certainly have a place in e ASW arsenal. Such an aircraft might
well be modularized so that it could serve several warfighting functions effectively. Cost, of course, is a big decision factor and new aircraft—especially new designs—are expensive.
In area ASW, the P-3C Orion and its updated models continue to pace the threat and to advance in sophisticated tactical application. Successful exercises during the past year working with tail ships, ocean surveillance ships, and submarines have repeatedly proven the importance and effectiveness of combined arms in area ASW and in the outer region of battle group operations. The Boeing P-3C Update IV sensor system is slated for fleet introduction in 1991 and will be installed in the follow-on maritime patrol aircraft, the LRAACA (long-range air
Admiral Dunn, a 1951 graduate of the U. S. Naval Academy, flew A-l Skyraiders and A-4 Skyhawks and commanded Attack Squadron 146 while flying combat missions during the Vietnam War. He has also commanded an attack carrier air wing, the USS Mount Whitney (LCC-20), USS Saratoga (CV-60), the Naval Safety Center, Carrier Group Eight, and the Naval Military Personnel Command. Admiral Dunn served as Chief of Naval Reserve and as Commander Naval Air Force, U. S. Atlantic Fleet, prior to his current assignment as Assistant Chief of Naval Operations, Air Warfare.
Admiral Cressy graduated from Yale NROTC in 1963 and has masters degrees in Business Administration and International Affairs. He has served on the USS Samuel B. Roberts (DD-823), USS Coral Sea (CV-43), VP-18 and VP-49. He has had command of VP-9, Patrol Wing Five, ASW Training Group Atlantic, and served at the Department of State and the Office of Legislative Affairs. Admiral Cressy is presently Director, Aviation Manpower and Training.