Research Summaries

Back Unmanned Surface Vehicles (USV) Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Employment

Fiscal Year 2014
Division Research & Sponsored Programs
Department Naval Research Program
Investigator(s) Luqi
Sponsor NPS Naval Research Program (Navy)
Summary The value of Unmanned Surface Vehicles (USVs) for supporting the Navy's AntiSubmarine Warfare (ASW) mission has not been fully explored. Previous experiments show that single or multiple USVs can help to detect, localize, and track undersea targets. The broad contribution of USVs to other aspects of ASW such as search, engage, torpedo defense, and environmental collection remains unexplored. Concepts of tactical employment of USVs in ASW are largely undefined. USVs with smaller footprints and greater interoperability with other systems can be used for data collection and for undersea dominance risk assessment. Risks include difficulties in the detection of diesel/electric submarines, which are inherently quieter than nuclear submarines when running on batteries due to less need for pumps and other moving parts. Some factors of USVs that could demonstrate military utility are:
1. They may be a better economic solution compared to traditional means of performing ASW missions (since the cost per ASW platform is significantly reduced).
2. USVs should minimize Blue Force losses by eliminating the need to have personnel in the immediate area.
3. Broader areas of coverage can be established and maintained by networking several USVs.
4. USVs are envisioned to detect and track enemy submarines in the vicinity of a fleet of manned ships.
5. USVs may also be used as decoys or jammers to deceive torpedoes or operators of enemy submarines.
6. USVs may improve our ability to find, detect, and engage detected submarines, mines and other threats.
7. Other possibilities for USVs include ASW engagement (e.g., an option to carry weaponry) and measuring environmental properties affecting ASW (e.g., wind speed and direction, surface wave height, direction and period, location of the thermocline [vertical profiling], surface and deep water temperatures, salinity, currents, other water chemistry, etc.). USVs may also deliver sonobuoys when weather is too rough for aircraft operation.
USVs likely have advantages over UUVs (unmanned underwater vehicles) with respect to endurance and communications, although UUVs are harder to detect. Combining the sensors of UUVs and USVs provides superior situational awareness. The proposed study will conduct an analysis to assess many possible uses of USV's in ASW and determine contributions of various USV attributes to inform future decisions and design tradeoffs.
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Publications Publications, theses (not shown) and data repositories will be added to the portal record when information is available in FAIRS and brought back to the portal
Data Publications, theses (not shown) and data repositories will be added to the portal record when information is available in FAIRS and brought back to the portal