During the Cold War, NATO underwater sensors meant that every single Russian ballistic missile submarine could be located and then quietly followed by a hunter-killer sub ready to torpedo it if war broke out…could swarms of underwater drones mean that our next-generation subs will be obsolete before they reach service in the 2030s?
That’s the question I examine in a piece in Popular Mechanics “Are Doomsday Submarines Doomed?“. The issues are very similar to those of drones in air warfare: the proliferation of (very) large numbers of (very) cheap platforms changes the strategic balance. Submarines costing around $10 billion apiece are now facing underwater drones at less than $10,000 apiece, and the drones are evolving rapidly. The Chinese in particular are putting resource into developing long-endurance underwater gliders like the Haiyan for anti-submarine warfare. By the time the next-gen subs are ready, there will be a lot of underwater drones waiting for them …full article here.