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I appreciate this opportunity to join you today and to be allowed to share with you my thoughts and concerns about the investment in technology needed to address challenges we face in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

Our submarines routinely operate in littoral waters where they must be prepared to deal with modem diesel submarines and mines, patrol craft, and they must be prepared to stand and fight.

As we look at the Pacific OPLANs, it becomes clear that our present capability to operate in littoral regions needs to be enhanced by technological improvements.

Assuring access in the littoral regions challenges our Navy throughout the region. Our attack submarines need the right tools to support operations in shallow water with a high contact density. We must be able to deal with the asymmetric threat represented by quiet diesel-electric submarines and mines, each of which provide a cost effective readily available solution for our potential adversaries as they consider how they might deny us access.

The littoral Ground Truth shown below represents the challenges met by our submarines during real world operations in the Pacific Command Area of Responsibility.

  • Operations in 25-50 fathoms
  • During 50 day timeframe:
    • 5000 sonar contacts
    • 3600 Trawlers with 500 DIW (Dead-in-the-Water)
    • 950 Merchants
  • Drift net fishing & fishing float fields

Typical hazards include trawlers, some dead-in-the-water, merchant ships, drift net fishing, and fishing float fields. This is the type of environment our submarine Commanding Officers will ace as they execute Theater Commander OPLANs.

U.S . submarines must be prepared to combat threats such as high speed surface craft. low speed aircraft, and loitering diesel submarines. Quick reaction, close in weapons-point and shoot, both offensive and defensive-are needed for operations in littoral regions to allow the submarine Commanding Officer to stand and fight should the need arise. Improvements in the man-machine interface for targeting, weapon presets, and post launch control are essential if we are to maintain our edge in close encounters with these threats.

Submarine Force Roles

  • Battlespace preparation
  • Responsive strike
  • Responsive Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance (ISR) operations
  • Special Operations Forces (SOF) from submarines
  • Maritime Interdiction Operations (MIO)
  • Undersea Warfare (USW)

The submarine’s inherent stealth. mobility, endurance. and firepower give us great confidence that the Submarine Force will retain its prominent role sustaining our Navy’s capability for assured access.

Submarines provide a responsive platform fully ready to execute strike, ISR, SOF, MIO. and USW missions-all concurrently, some simultaneously.

Our Navy’s recent operations in Operation Enduring Freedom reflect this capability. The first two U.S. warships in position to strike into Afghanistan were submarines, and both engaged in strike against the enemy. Thirty-seven percent of the Tomahawk missiles fired into Afghanistan were fired from submarines.

Throughout this operation, submarines provided situational awareness of land-based, surface, and diesel submarine threats . Rapid collection and dissemination of critical tactical information provided important intelligence to operational commanders as they planned and executed their dynamic operational orders.

During pre-hostilities, commanders need a capability to collect intelligence in a non-provocative manner. During the advanced stages of hostilities, they need a survivable information collection capability that is reliable and sustainable. Areas where technology can contribute to this capability include:

  • Improved mast mounted antennas that offer increased frequency coverage and improved performance against emerging RF technologies
  • Off-board vehicles (UUV and UAV) with low probability of detection for intelligence collection
  • Improved IMINT capability to include day/night and all weather coverage
  • Improved IMINT/PHOTINT sensor accuracy as required to support target mensuration
  • Periscope improvements to support collection operations and safety of ship
  • Fixed sensor and re-taskable mobile systems.

Today strike planning and coordination procedures, tools and communications must be made less cumbersome to meet rapidly changing mission requirements, time critical targets or integrated operations with olher naval forces and joint fires. Targeting and command and control capabilities must be able to meet short response times. The submarine needs to be able to communicate and integrate its strike assets with those of other Joint Forces. Critical elements include:

  • Automated TLAM mission plaillling and knowledge management systems to support rapid re-targeting, joint fires, and attacks on time critical targets
  • Improved data rate communications for faster mission download
  • Improved battle damage assessment sensors and tools
  • Improved tools for managing numerous contacts in a congested and dynamic environment.

Submarines operating in littoral regions acquire intelligence essential to achieving dominant knowledge. This includes indications and warning, signals, imagery and acoustic intelligence, environmental data collection, installation of unattended ground sensors, spotter team insertion, and Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) detection. But this information is of limited use unless its shared with otl\er operational commanders and forces. Areas where technology investment can improve this capability include :

  • Improved surveillance sensors and processing to provide increased sensitivity and bandwidths, and improved discrimination against a wider range of threats, such as sensors for nuclear, chemical, and biological contamination detection
  • Ability to use/control unmanned vehicles and unattended ground sensor as adjunct sensors for SOF operations.

Special Operations Forces Support by Submarines

We must be able to meet future challenges to providing support for special operations. Areas where technology can help us meet these demands include:

Delivery & Extraction

  • Covert delivery and extraction of SOF to shore from all submarine classes (present and future), including improved Dry Deck Shelters and Swimmer Delivery Vehicles such as Advanced Swimmer Delivery System (ASDS) and follow-on improvements.
  • Communications

  • Improved communications between SOF and the submarine including rapid and effective imagery transmission from SOF to the Joint Task Force or higher Command Authority, via the submarine when required
  • Improved LPI communications between Special Operations Forces (SOF) and the submarine (coordination, tactical data, and imagery).
  • Defensive Weapon

  • Submarine-based weapon for engaging hostile small watercraft or aircraft/helicopter in pursuit of SOF during an exfiltration event. Maritime A TACMs to support Call-for-fire.

Maritime Interdiction Operations

While Maritime Interdiction Operations may seem like a new mission related to the war on terrorism, SSNs have been conducting similar types of operations for several years, both Maritime Intercept Operations (MIO) in the Arabian Gulf, as well as counter drug operations in the Caribbean and eastern Pacific. Submarines provide VISIT, ELINT, and ACINT fingerprinting for finding and tracking hostile surface ships. Additionally, submarines can neutralize a threat through torpedo attack or support for SOF options.

As MIO contingencies become more and more complex, the Navy must increase surveillance and be prepared to interdict. Improved imagery (day/night/all weather) and improved communication data rates are needed to support the myriad joint assets involved in interdiction operations.

Integrated Operations

Undersea warfare is complex and a Navy core competency. The USW force needs to be fully integrated to provide the JTF Com-mander with battlespace understanding, to provide responsive prosecution and attack, and to provide seamless transition from CTF to JTF command and control.

To meet this operational challenge, USW technology investments are needed to improve critical elements such as:

Theater ASW

  • Interactive collaborative planning over secure Internet Protocol (IP) based network between disbursed ASW forces and provide a seamless transition from CTF to JTF
  • Interactive capability to share products developed on a myriad of Tactical Decision Aids and C2 Systems
  • Sub-surface Common Undersea Picture (CUP) for Theater-Level Collaborative Planning and Prosecution (Shared USW tactical picture with common databases and data fusion engines)
  • Cross platform system to integrate all levels of command into Net-centric Ops.

Cueing and Wide Area Search

  • Improved acoustic and non-acoustic sensor
  • Automatic detection of signals
  • Hull mounted sensors for target localization and allow auto-ranging during short range trail for close encounters

The training and experimentation derived from Pacific Fleet USW Exercises are essential if we are to improve detection of diesel submarines and execute large area search and fleet protection operations. These exercises provide excellent opportunities to evaluation new tactics and technologies. COMSUBPAC would entertain the hosting of new USW technologies in future fleet exercises and for those of you who have technology that may help us as we deal with the Theater USW challenge I will provide operational platforms to test your technology. “If you buy it, I will fly it”!

Thank you for this opportunity to speak with you here today. Efficient technology transition and insertion are absolutely essential if we are to sustain our operational primacy in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Technology, thoughtfully applied, can lead us into the future and is key to our success in the Twenty-first Century. I look forward to joining you in addressing the challenges and the adventures that lie ahead.

Naval Submarine League

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