The Ticonderoga class guided missile cruiser USS Cowpens in dry dock in Japan. Note the bow-mounted AN/SQS-53B/C/D sonar. US Navy
The cat and mouse game of anti-submarine warfare is very high-stakes.
Heres’s how modern navies go about it with their surface fleets. Anti-Submarine Warfare, or ASW, is an evolving practice that requires patience and coordination as much as skill and technique. The tools today’s navies use are much farther reaching and more capable than the simple Cold War-era sonars. Artificial intelligence helps alert operators to potential threats. Advance oceanographic modeling of sound propagation and ray trace help plan highly effective searches across vast stretches of ocean. Complex acoustic pulses at incredible power levels push back the veil of uncertainty before a fleet.
It is in this ASW environment we will review the fundamentals of a basic submarine search, not from another submarine’s perspective, which you can read all about here, but from the point of view of a destroyer or another anti-submarine warfare-enabled surface combatant cruising atop the waves.
Searching for a submarine happens using two basic methods: active sonar search or passive sonar search. Both ways are capable techniques, but they have vastly different strengths and weaknesses.
WNU Editor: The technology that now exists to detect and track subs must be incredible. I can only imagine how AI platforms will revolutionize this even further.