Chairman Mao did not include the maxim “train like you fight” in his little red book, but the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) submarine force clearly understands it well enough. Its simulated cruise missile attack on the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) in 2015 revealed how much Chinese capabilities and ambitions had grown since 2006, when a Song-class diesel-electric submarine surfaced within torpedo range of the USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63).1 Long-range, antiship cruise missiles (ASCMs) launched from a growing fleet of diesel submarines represent the pacing tactical threat for naval surface forces. The carrier strike group needs more and better antisubmarine warfare (ASW) platforms to defend against these increasingly potent weapons and defeat their stealthy launch platforms from standoff ranges. Fortunately, a variety of existing and emerging technologies can help distribute more sensors and more weapons on more platforms and catalyze novel operational concepts.
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2. “China Submarine Capabilities,” NTI (7 February 2021).
3. “Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2020,” Department of Defense (2020).
4. H I Sutton, “China Increases Production of AIP Submarines with Massive New Shipyard,” Naval News, 16 February 2021.
5. “Chinas’ New YJ-18 Antiship Cruise Missile,” U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, 28 October 2015.
6. Nathan Strout, “How the Space Force Foiled and Iranian Missle Attack with a Critical Early Warning,” C4ISRnet, 7 January 2021.
7. “Intelligent RF-IR Data Fusion Using Artificial Intelligence Techniques,” award information, SBIR.gov (2013).
8. Aidan Fitzpatrick, Ajay Singhvi, and Amin Arbabian, “An Airborne Sonar System for Underwater Remote Sensing and Imaging,” IEEE Access, 16 October 2020.
9. Arend G. Westra, “Passive Radar and the Future of U.S. Military Power,” Joint Force Quarterly, no. 44 (4th Quarter, 2009): 136–43; John Keller, “Boeing to Upgrade Sonar Signal Processing on Navy P-8A ASW Aircraft,” Intelligent Aerospace, 27 February 2017.
10. Muhammad Sabri Salim, MF Abd Malek, RBW Heng, et al., “Capacitive Micromachined Ultrasonic Transducers: Technology and Application,” Journal of Medical Ultrasound 20 (2012).
11. “NATO Bombed Soviet Submarines with Tiny, Annoying Magnets,” War is Boring, 18 February 2014.