ANSWERS Submarine Questions of the Week (5 APRIL 2016)
Related information, photo(s) and links for questions are found in the original posting.
ANSWERS Submarine Questions of the Week1 - (see above DARPA photo) How many "contractors" can be seen topside on this "unmanned", surface vessel? ANS: Seven (7).
"During its upcoming trials humans will remain onboard the Sea Hunter as a safety net, but once the system’s reliability is established an onboard human presence will no longer be necessary. The operator station visible atop the vessel is removable, and the interior of the ship, while accessible for maintenance, is not designed to accommodate a crew." source2 - Do stealthy diesel electric subs really make "no noise"? ANS: No, advanced designs only generate "less" noise.
3 - Assume an enemy decides to:
a) Board and strip one of these 130-foot unmanned vessels of sensitive gear, compromise automated systems, hack into encrypted communications, or attach a GPS tracker; besides hesitancy to commit such illegal acts, what techniques could prevent or deter such invasions? ANS: Besides the human difficulties inherent to boarding a seagoing, 31-knot vessel, no other deterrents are known at this time.
b) Since the ACTUV is observable from surface ships, patrol craft, surveillance satellites and aircraft including drones/UAVs, why would an enemy hesitate to disable or destroy an ACTUV before its automatic detection and reporting systems ever presented a threat to an important mission in a critical area of operations? ANS: We do not believe a threatened enemy would hesitate to destroy or attempt to destroy this craft unless the enemy knew its effectiveness was already subverted.
c) What covert means of disabling ACTUV propulsion could be availed at sea while preserving the anonymnity of the saboteur? ANS: Contrived collision with a log, buoy, abandoned boat, for example.
4 - Name some of the advanced technologies ( juicey targets?) announced for ACTUVs.
ANS: ACTUVs are to be equipped with a Raytheon Modular Scalable Sonar System (MS3), the vessel’s primary search-and-detection sonar and purportedly the first fifth-generation medium-frequency hull-mounted sonar system built by the U.S. defense contractor. The vessels will also be provided with advanced autonomous navigation and anti collision features, constant contact with other ships and aircraft through a satellite link, image-processing hardware and passive electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) or non-radar active (LIDAR) technologies.
5 - "It is intended that ACTUV will operate under minimal supervisory command and control; with shore bases intermittently monitoring performance and providing high-level mission objectives through beyond line-of-sight communications links." When and where might be the best intended use of ACTUVs? ANS: (Peacetime) - Build, deploy and operate as stated to develop credibility for a relatively inexpensive counter to China's (et al) submarine buildups. (During armed conflict) - Expand deployments with cheaper ACTUV lookalikes stripped of expensive gear and sensitive technologies to decoy enemies and disrupt enemy's covert and surprise activities. Also, deploy hundreds of fake spam transmitters simulating ACTUV signal emissions [ELINT] to confuse enemy subs.
"The Pentagon thinks it could produce ships like Sea Hunter for $20 million dollars each and operate them for between $15,000 and $20,000 a day (compared with well over $1 billion dollars for a modern Arleigh Burke class destroyer, which can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars per day to operate)." source7 - The first new "vessel designed to track Chinese and Russian subs is slated to be christened this month." What is the name of this first ACTUV? ANS: "Sea Hunter", as mentioned.
Submarines are always silent and strange.