Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Will all submarines, even nuclear ones, be obsolete and ‘visible’ by 2040?


Will all submarines, even nuclear ones, be obsolete and ‘visible’ by 2040?

Technologies could render the ocean transparent by the time Australia’s new submarines are ready, some experts say, Guardian, Tory Shepherd, 5 Oct 21,
 Australia’s proposed nuclear-powered submarines could be obsolete by the time they hit the water in the 2040s due to new technologies making underwater vessels “visible”, some experts argue.

One of the controversies over the federal government’s decision to ditch the $90bn deal to build conventional submarines in favour of nuclear boats is the timeline for getting them battle-ready.

The navy will have to stretch out the lifespan of the existing Collins-class fleet and possibly hire submarines to fill the gap before the new ones are on the horizon.

But even before the deal to buy 12 submarines from France’s Naval Group was made, military analysts warned that submarines of all types would be rendered obsolete by new technology including submersible drones and new weapons systems.

There are also warnings that different technologies will render the ocean “transparent”, so even the stealthiest submarines could be spotted by an enemy force.

The Australian National University’s National Security College report Transparent Oceans? found that transparency is “likely or “very likely” by the 2050s, a decade after Australia’s new fleet of nuclear-powered subs is due to enter service.

A multidisciplinary team looked at new sensor technology, underwater communications and the possibility of tripwires at choke points. They also examined new ways to detect chemical, biological, acoustic and infra-red signatures, finding that even with improvements in stealth submarines will become visible.

The report found “future technologies will make the oceans broadly transparent and counter-detection technologies will not have the same salience in the decades ahead as they have had previously”.

China has already developed submarine-spotting lasers.

CSIRO is working with a Chinese marine science institute that has separately developed satellite technology that can find submarines at depths of up to 500 metres.

That collaboration is due to end next year. The Australian has reported that Asio warned it could help the Chinese navy to hunt down Australian submarines but CSIRO said making that connection was “alarmist and irresponsible reporting”.

The defence analyst Albert Palazzo, writing for the Lowy Institute, said China’s technology will be advanced enough that “any Australian submarine that attempts to do something in these waters, such as launch a tomahawk missile, will reveal its position and shortly thereafter be destroyed”.

Others say submarines are just a base platform for a range of new and evolving technologies…………….

According to the taskforce set up under Aukus, the new submarines will have “superior characteristics of stealth, speed, manoeuvrability, survivability, and almost limitless endurance”, with better weapons, the ability to deploy drones and “a lower risk of detection”.  https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/oct/05/will-all-submarines-even-nuclear-ones-be-obsolete-and-visible-by-2040

October 5, 2021 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, spinbuster, weapons and war

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