from the c4-c5-c6 dept.
Kris Osborn writes at DefenseTech that the US Navy is outfitting a prototype Virginia-class attack submarine platform with a series of upgrades designed to improve sonar detection and make attack submarines less detectable and more stealthy with upgrades including the addition of a large vertical array, special coating materials for the exterior of the submarine and special noise-reduction technologies for the engine room. “The USS South Dakota is a platform for three crucial aspects of our efforts to work on acoustic superiority. The large vertical array is about 60-percent designed with a preliminary design and we are installing a similar array on the USS Maryland that is 75-percent complete,” says Rear Adm. Joe Tofalo, director, submarine warfare. Virginia-class submarines will be acquired through 2043, and are expected to remain in service past 2060. Mainly aimed at dominating the world's littoral and deep waters, the Virginia-class submarines are capable of conducting anti-submarine; anti-surface ship; strike; special operation forces; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; irregular warfare; and mine warfare missions. The idea is to stay in front of fast-moving technological progress on the part of potential adversaries and help ensure undersea dominance for the US Navy and provide a technological advantage to US submarines looking to operate beneath or behind barriers erected by the weaponry and sensors of potential adversaries.
Many countries such as China, North Korea and Iran have or are developing long-range anti-ship missiles designed to prevent surface ships from operating within a certain distance of the shoreline. These technologies and weapons could be intended to deny access or deny an area to US forces, making it much harder to operate and project power. “We need to be ready for a Russia, China, Iran or whoever else who – recognizing the superiority we have today – seeks to develop an A2/AD like network underwater to match what many of them currently have on the surface and in the air. We know that is going to happen,” says Vice Adm. Mike Connor, commander of the Navy’s Atlantic submarine force. "We are the folks who are expected to get in underneath and – at the time and place of our choosing – do what needs to be done. A significant part of our ability to do this is an acoustic advantage."