The sad reality is that weapons to kill subs are easier to generate than roles and missions to keep them functionally justified. Most especially the
big nuke kettles which, when they come inshore, are /terribly/ noisy and rendered easy to (predictively) find by lack of water under the keel.
Right now, the top threats are mines and other (AIP) SSKs. In the near future, we will almost certainly see AIP go to hunting drones which are
roughly the size and cost of a torpedo, hunt in pairs or packs and can FREELY use active search technologies because they sprint to 70-100 knots (more
if they supercav) and then drift with 1/10th the hull noise of any submarine out there. Yell, Dash, Slow, Listen. While your partner does the same
on a lagged offset bearing.
Kill one and it's brother comes for you. Kill both and the _last known_ datum for their location becomes the focus for a new ASW effort by major
In reality, the best mode is apt to be buoy'd netcentrics with the HK's tethered until cued. At which point, it's unlikely you will be able to get
a torpedo in the water fast enough to avoid being butchered.
And _when that happens_ all the money that is utterly wasted on SubSafe high quality steels militarized hifi stereo gear and acoustic databases and
the like will be so much smoke before the whirlwind of change.
Another thing to consider is that it is fairly likely that systems like April Showers and Magic Lantern will go overhead by 2020 and this, coupled to
low-residuals micronuke technology (SKINC) will turn large areas of particularly the littorals 'transparent'. Again, making it impossible to hide
once you're in the approaches to any particular land interface.
Even waaaaay back when, a friend of mine working in the oil research field viewed satellite IR data showing twin plumes making turns for more than 20
knots crossing the Atlantic on their way to the Med. From the breadth and time index/mixing effect (color) of the plumes he was even able get a
And this was the 1970's folks.
Tie a long range aeroballistic weapon (Mach 8-12 to 2,500nm) to similar, modern day, impulse SAR or LiDAR (Teal Ruby ++) sats and you have a system
that can even threaten boats in the mid-ocean voids.
That said, the principle problems with the SLCM as the real power projection asset of the submarine fleet is that it is outrageously expensive (295
grande, even for the Blk.IV/Cheaphawk), incredibly bulky, and _terribly_ slow to react.
The better option, by far, for most 'tactical' targets is to be able to launch a UAV have it scoot inland for targeting and then either do a direct
attack or data/image handoff to SOF teams ashore. Or as eyeball to some kind of secondary airpower mode which is acting as a weapons cabinet (BUFF or
MQ-9) for them.
This too is 'nothing new', having first been accomplished back in 95 or so with the Sea Ferret. Range vs. Speed and Mission Area Loiter is the big
question here. SF was good for about 400nm and had a 300 knot cruise with 2hrs of mission time. i.e. You fly out and look for ONE hour and then you
die like a housefly. With this plus sub vulnerability problems as your driving considerations for rinse-repeat recoverability; I find it MUCH more
likely that weapons will not be optimized for return on deposit (forget landing gear, just a water entry spike, flotation skirt and beacon will run
you 100-150lbs that could be otherwise dedicated to _gas_).
But rather for long inwater deployments, and possibly boosted fast delivery. Somewhat like CAPTOR crossed with SUBROC or ASWSOW.
In this scenario, you would likely want to have a fairly large (mass for mass in a neutral buoyancy working environment), 'utility scow' on the
order of a robotic SDV. Which takes off from the wasp waist docking collar of the JC and has plenty of Lidar and autopilot 'sophistication' to make
distance and recover. Even as it remains 1/20th or less the cost of the main boat and so can motorvate into an 'area of interest' (and maximum
defensive density, including SOSUS or buoy cued robotic dobersub patrols) before dumping a six pack of these little critters plus a long line antenna
to pop them while the main boat stays WELL out to sea.
Whether you treat it like a spiders web of popup sensor apertures for far convergence zone ASUW or go on over the beach to support 'FTSF' operations
deep in the littoral land belt, the only real need for 'recoverability' is if you choose to be discrete and go back in to grab your crab cage
equivalent _in the water_ (preuse). Rather than going for actual drone return to sender recovery which effectively turns range into radius as a
function of fuel waste and turnaround times when the drone is doing absolutely nothing but here-to-there nav.