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S U B M A R I N E S : FAC I N G T H E F U T U R E SUBMARINES: FACING THE FUTURE If submarines are to retain a high priority for defence funding, they must be seen to have a substantial role in the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT). This means that they must, in addition to their traditional roles, provide effective support for theatre commanders. As Germany, UK and US develop future submarines, Commander David Kelly, US Navy, looks at how submarines support GWOT now and what the future holds. Commodore Mark Anderson and Murray Easton examine the UK's Astute-class submarines, the industrial challenges of building them and how they will evolve in years to come. Captain Raimund Wallner of the German Navy describes German­Italian co-operation on a new submarine programme, while Andreas Lörinc and others discuss submarine maintenance in the light of experience of operating with the US Navy in the northern Pacific.

Submarine Requirements for the Global War on Terrorism

by Commander David Kelly

Commander Kelly is the Deputy Director of the Coordination Cell for Submarine Counter-terrorism Operations, commanded by Rear Admiral Mark Kenny, USN. In this article, he describes the roles of the submarine in the war on terrorism, and looks at future technologies that will further increase the submarine's effectiveness.

For over 100 years the US submarine force has been a major contributor to national defence. From the early Holland gasoline boats through the fleet submarines of World War Two to today's nuclear-powered SSNs, SSBNs and SSGNs, roles and missions have continued to evolve along with the technology of each ship class.


include the ability to quickly transit to where they are needed; extended time on station without need for resupply; and the inherent stealth of submarines ­ crucial when combating terrorist organisations with increasing situational awareness and intelligence-gathering capabilities. While submarines are only one part of the US Navy's effort in the GWOT, they bring several unique characteristics to the fight.

combatant commander with stealthy, nonprovocative capabilities in the following three primary mission areas: · Intelligence/surveillance/reconnaissance (ISR) · Special Operating Forces (SOF) support · Responsive Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM) strike

Supporting the Global War on Terrorism

The Virginia, our newest class of fast attack Today, the submarine force has a substantial Submarine Roles in the GWOT submarine, is ideal for carrying out these The submarine's attributes of speed, role in supporting the Global War on missions. Virginia has been optimised to thrive endurance and stealth provide persistence and in the world's littoral, making her a completely Terrorism (GWOT) which is not readily reach for the GWOT. Submarines provide the new breed of SSN for current and future apparent or well understood. While maintaining our skills in traditional SSN roles such as anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and anti-surface ship warfare (ASuW) we must also provide effective support for theatre commanders fighting the GWOT. The submarine force is of course only one part of the US Navy's role in the war on terrorism. Surface ships, aircraft, Special Operations Forces, and sailors on the ground in Iraq, Afghanistan and around the world are all part of a true team effort. This is consistent with, and in support of, the Chief of Naval Operations and Secretary of the Navy's Objectives for 2006.1 One of these objectives states we will `use the Navy-Marine Corps Team to aggressively prosecute the Global War on Terrorism'; submarines have a key role in helping the team achieve this objective. USS Virginia and the rest of the ships of its class are designed specifically to incorporate emergent technologies Our all-nuclear submarine force offers that will provide new capabilities to meet new threats (US Navy photo by General Dynamics Electric Boat) several key advantages in the GWOT. These

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A SEAL delivery vehicle (SDV) team performs a fast-roping exercise from a MH-60S Seahawk helicopter to the topside of the fast attack submarine USS Toledo (US Navy photo)

threats. A true littoral warfighting platform, her ship control station has been redesigned for automatic pilot operations to better control the ship's depth in shallow water and at periscope depth. SEALS and other SOF can sustain prolonged operations from Virginia, using the enhanced capabilities of a nine-man lockin/lock-out chamber, a reconfigurable torpedo room and compatibility with Advanced SEAL Delivery System (ASDS) and Dry Deck Shelter (DDS). Virginia's modular masts, which can be rapidly reconfigured, house enhanced ISR and communications capabilities. ISR has long been a core competency for the submarine force. Submarines gather intelligence by exploiting the electromagnetic spectrum; ships can, in turn, provide near realtime reporting of intelligence to both national level and in-theatre commanders, and can conduct electronic attack (EA) operations. Submarines are, of course, only one of several methods by which such intelligence is gathered: aircraft, surface ships and other platforms can and do provide similar services. The SSN's advantages here are stealth; long, uninterrupted time on station; and the `local knowledge' that results from being in a specific area for extended periods. As with other disciplines in the GWOT, the SSN's role in ISR is one part of a larger effort.

Special Operations support is a capability with a long history. Operations such as those conducted by USS Argonaut and USS Nautilus at Makin Island in World War Two are an important part of our wartime experience. The ability to covertly insert and recover SOF in virtually any coastal

`While maintaining our skills in traditional SSN roles we must also provide effective support for theatre commanders fighting the GWOT'

area provides theatre commanders with numerous options. SOF can conduct nearshore reconnaissance or take direct action against terrorists. The Dry-Deck Shelter (DDS) provides a primary means of SOF support for the submarine force. The DDS is installed on the back of a host SSN and can be used to launch and recover SEALS employing Combat Rubber Raiding Craft (CRRC) or the SEAL Delivery Vehicle (SDV), a small `wet'

submersible capable of delivering operators to and from a target. The Royal Navy also uses the DDS and SDV; the US Navy and the Royal Navy continue to work together to improve this capability. Submarines without DDS can support SOF operations via a surfaced launch and recovery of CRRC, or can `lock out' small numbers of SOF personnel via the escape trunks while submerged. The US Navy also has one Advanced Swimmer Delivery System (ASDS) vehicle in its inventory. This 65ft `dry' submersible can carry a larger number of SOF than the SDV for greater distances and in a `dry' state vice the `wet' conditions aboard SDVs. Like the SDV it is launched and recovered from the back of a SSN. Submarines can also launch Tomahawk missiles in support of the GWOT. The rubric used to describe the process of fighting terrorism is `Find, Fix, Finish' ­ the Tomahawk missile is one option for `Finishing' terrorists and their facilities. US Navy submarines and surface ships routinely deploy with TLAM; readiness to carry out a strike in a given geographical area is assured whenever an SSN or surface combatant is present. While the SSN is not the only platform capable of carrying out a TLAM strike, submarines do provide several unique

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advantages in this arena as well. The ability to assume a non-provocative position off a coastline while awaiting a possible TLAM strike, all the while gathering and reporting intelligence, gives the theatre commander the option to have a TLAM `shooter' ready at a moment's notice while avoiding warning that such a strike may be imminent and retaining the ability to quietly withdraw from the area if a strike is not warranted.

`UAV launched from submarines hold great promise in extending situational awareness inland'

In sum, the SSN provides theatre commanders with a single platform which can provide ISR, conduct TLAM strike and monitor the reaction to kinetic effects, all from a clandestine, non-provocative posture.

The Ohio-class guided missile submarine USS Florida is the second of four SSBN submarines to be converted to the guided missile SSGN platform (US Navy photo)

to contact a submarine while it is deep, or allow the submarine to communicate at tactically relevant speeds and depths without having to go to periscope depth. Submarines The SSGN's Role will continue to provide value in that the Within the past year the US Navy returned to same ships which are among the most service the first two of four former SSBNs ­ capable in the world in conducting major USS Ohio and USS Florida ­ which have been Into the Future combat operations (MCO) can and will US Navy SSNs and SSGNs will continue to converted to guided missile submarines, or provide invaluable support to the GWOT provide theatre commanders with unique SSGN. These ships will fulfil the same roles with minimal new resources. capabilities in the long war against terrorism. as their SSN counterparts in the SOF These new technologies will In addition to refining tactics, techniques and undoubtedly provide our ships with greater support, ISR and TLAM Strike areas, but procedures in these areas, we will continue to capabilities than ever before. The changes in with greatly expanded resources. In investigate, test and install new technologies our force these last 100 years and more have particular, SSGN SOF support and TLAM designed to enhance our ability to influence strike capabilities will be significantly been, and will continue to be, significant. In events ashore. These technologies include: upgraded versus those of SSNs. the end, however, the one constant through As a SOF platform, SSGN has no equal. all these changes has been the US · Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) With the ability to support up to 66 SOF submariner. Only highly trained, dedicated personnel for up to 90 days with all required · Unmanned underwater vehicles (UUV) and motivated officers and sailors are capable equipment and an on-board command centre · Communications at speed and depth of maintaining expertise in traditional which allows effective command and control, · Improved sensors for exploiting the undersea warfare while simultaneously electromagnetic spectrum the SSGN provides a self-contained platform fighting the Global War on Terrorism. The which can support the insertion and Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Mike UAV launched from submarines hold great extraction of SOF virtually anywhere in the Mullen, put it best when he stated that `the promise in extending situational awareness world's littoral regions. With installed dual enemy adapts ... we must adapt as well'. The DDS, the SSGN can launch and recover SDVs inland and in providing an `unblinking eye' in US Navy and its submarine force have or use CRRCs for larger teams of SOF. ASDS support of SOF or traditional forces ashore. responded to this challenge and will continue Similarly, UUV offer the ability to `look' into to work to support the nation's defence no can also be deployed from SSGN. The large shallow, restrictive waters without risk to size of the ship ensures berthing, exercise matter what the requirements. and medical facilities for SOF are far superior personnel. Other technologies being NOTES evaluated include improved sensors for to those on board SSNs. varying parts of the electromagnetic In TLAM strike support, the SSGN is spectrum, and communications at speed and 1 Secretary of the Navy Memorandum for Distribution, again in a class by itself. With the ability to Department of the Navy Objectives for 2006, 8 February depth. Communications at speed and depth carry up to 154 TLAM, the SSGN provides 2006. will provide the commander with the ability not only a large volume of missiles but, as importantly, can carry a sizeable number of each different TLAM variant. There are currently several varieties of TLAM with different payloads and capabilities. SSGN will allow commanders the ability to select the variant best suited to the mission at hand.

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