Naval Submarine League 33rd Annual Symposium
U.S. Navy Considering Adding Anti-Ship Missiles Back To Submarine Force (US Naval Institute News). The Navy is investigating adding an anti-ship missile to its submarine force – bringing it in line with the majority of the world naval submarines, the director of Naval Reactors said on Wednesday. “For this audience, I’ll tell you we are considering that and we are taking some steps to delivering that kind of capability to our submarine force and I can’t really say any more than that,” he said. The U.S. submarine fleet did use the UGM-84A Harpoon anti-ship missile but that Harpoon variant was retired in 1997. The current primary attack submarines is the anti-ship weapon is Mk 48 heavy torpedo and is limited in its range relative to anti-ship missiles developed and deployed with foreign navies. In particular, Russian and Chinese submarines field a variety of anti-ship missiles with ranges that far exceed the Mk-48s.
4-Star: Navy Must Invest In Undersea Drones (Navy Times). The submarine Navy needs to invest in unmanned underwater systems and faces a crossroads on par with its iconic shift to nuclear power in the 1950s, the Nuclear Navy's new boss said Wednesday. "The way I look at it, we're kind of at a fork in the road," said Adm. Frank Caldwell, director of the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program, in a speech opening the annual Naval Submarine League symposium in Northern Virginia. "If you look at our history, we've been here before," he said. "Just like when we decided to go down the path of nuclear propulsion, or when we decided to go down the path of the ballistic missile submarine, or our deep submergence program." Caldwell argues that as the sub force faces a dip in its numbers next decade, and new technologies threaten underwater communications, the Navy needs to invest rapidly in unmanned underwater systems to augment missions like intelligence gathering, submarine tracking and more.
Navy Nuclear Power Chief Says Unmanned Systems Are Future Of Submarine Warfare (Defense Daily). Unmanned systems will revolutionize undersea warfare much in the manner that nuclear propulsion did, the Navy’s new nuclear reactors chief said Oct. 21. “I think we have an imperative, now, to transform undersea warfare by exploiting the use of unmanned vehicles, autonomous assets and the supporting systems,” Adm. Frank Caldwell, director of the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program, said at the Naval Submarine Leagues’ annual symposium outside Washington, D.C. “It’s the right path and I think it’s a path that is compelled out of necessity.” Potential challenges from adversaries in undersea warfare, the hiatus in submarine building taken in the 1990s and an anticipated dip in force structure in the 2020s have all created the requirement for submarines with longer strike ranges and varied mission capabilities, Caldwell said. The possibility of deploying subs to monitor or protect subsurface infrastructure, which is an emerging mission, would require subs to launch and recover submersible unmanned vehicles, he said. “When you add all these up, I think there is an imperative for us to move forward more swiftly in this unmanned realm,” he said.
Undersea Warfare Directorate Looking To Increase Dominance Through Key Investments (US Naval Institute). The new director of undersea warfare (OPNAV N97) is looking to extend the Navy’s asymmetrical advantage by investing in longer-range targeting, electromagnetic warfare tools and other capabilities to help submarine forces operate effectively into the future. Rear Adm. Charles Richard said at the 2015 Naval Submarine League Annual Symposium that the Commander of Submarine Forces has released a vision for the force, and Richard will determine a path to get to that vision. Among the capabilities he sees the Navy needing is putting effects on targets at longer ranges – and having the targeting and the command and control infrastructure to support longer-range strikes. While the Navy has tried to achieve long-range targeting by submarines in the past and wasn’t able to overcome technology obstacles, “we think we’re on the cusp of getting to it with our new technologies. But it’s not going to do me a lot of good to have a target-quality solution with a weapon that can go do something that I’ve been ordered to do if I’m waiting for permission to fire because my command and control networks aren’t in a position to let me go do that,” he said. “I can gain competitive advantage over a potential adversary if I can get inside his command and control loop, so we’re working on that.”
Navy Can’t Afford Extending Ohio Submarine Platform, Haney Says (Defense Daily). The Navy can’t afford to further extend the life of its current Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine platform, despite an upcoming budgetary challenge on replacing it, according to a key Pentagon official. “That sub was built to last 30 years and we’ve extended it out to 42 years, longer than any other submarine we’ve operated in this country,” U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) chief Adm. Cecil Haney said Thursday at a Defense Writers Group event in Washington. “Our backs are against the wall at this point in time.”
Navy: Future Attack Submarine Scheduled For Duty In 2044 (Seapower Magazine). The Navy is planning to field a new-design nuclear-powered attack submarine (SSN) in 2044, a Navy official said. Speaking Oct. 22 to an audience at the Naval Submarine League’s annual symposium, George Drakely, executive director of the Program Executive Office-Submarines, said the service plans to begin an analysis of alternatives in 2024 for the design, designated SSN(X). Drakely said the Navy expects to begin construction of the SSN(X) in 2034. He said that affordability will be a key focus of the design, leveraging the technology existing at the time. He expects the SSN(X) to make extensive use of off-board sensors. The SSN(X) will follow the production of 48 Virginia-class SSNs, with the last scheduled for delivery in 2034.