And much more.
Watch Out, Russia and China: The Navy Has a New Plan to Kill Your Submarines
Small said the Navy is ultimately looking for a “family of systems.”
Should an enemy submarine surface well beyond undersea or surface drone detection range and send intelligence to attack platforms – US Navy platforms could be vulnerable in some instances. Fortified by targeting data from well beyond the horizon, enemy subs, planes and ships might, in this case, be well-positioned for a coordinated strike.
However, should an interwoven web of Navy surveillance assets track and share vital information, coordinated surface, air and undersea drones could sustain an unprecedented advantage — and a new attack synergy could actually begin to transform maritime warfare.Enemy mines, surface ships, small boats and submarines might be detected more quickly, but, perhaps of greater importance, cross-domain drone connectivity would completely change the sensor-to-shooter kill chain. With this in mind, Navy weapons developers have put this initiative on the fast track, with the hope of rapidly networking its fleet of surface, air and undersea drones.
Submarine hunting with Textron’s Unmanned Surface Vehicles (USVs) is already breaking through to a new level of detection and attack technology, laying a foundation of progress from which to build toward a new horizon of the desired interconnected maritime drone combat. This new level of multi-domain drone networking was described at the Navy League’s Sea Air Space Symposium by Capt. Pete Small, Program Manager for Unmanned Systems. Small said this is now being advanced through a collaborative effort between Naval Sea Systems Command and Naval Air Systems Command.
“In the command and control area we are looking to standardize protocols across UUVs, USV and UAVs,” Small said. Using common protocol standards and flexible architecture, the Navy plans to solidify what Small called “a smattering of manned and unmanned systems, satellites and ground stations communicating with the right interfaces.”
Surface radio or GPS signals, coupled with various kinds of sonar or low-frequency undersea communications, form the foundation for emerging kinds of networking which bring the prospect of a new era of interconnectivity. Also, DARPA and BAE Systems are now working on an emerging GPS-like undersea networking technology as well.
“You might have a destroyer that needs to operate a UUV and a USV and link back to a shore-based command and control center. You have got to have common protocols. Every unmanned system is a little different and has its own requirements. Ships and subs have different elements. You need commonality for platform integration,” Small said.