Uncrewed Submarines – the Future of Naval Warfare

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There is a worldwide growing significance in modern maritime security of drone submarines, also called “uncrewed underwater vehicles” (UUVs). These UUVs are becoming increasingly affordable, widespread, and sophisticated.

Maritime defense and security are extremely important, and the potential consequence of a disruptive event, be it a blockage, an accident, or an explosion in a critical location, has not escaped the attention of nations worldwide, who know the strategic importance of safeguarding these vulnerable undersea assets.

One pressing example is the ongoing war in Ukraine, where the use of underwater drones proved their multifaceted applications in intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, mine countermeasures, antisubmarine warfare, electronic warfare, underwater sensor grid development, and special operations. The potential of these underwater drones is set to expand, driven by technological advances and an evolving global landscape.

According to Interesting Engineering, nations worldwide are also working on broader initiatives to gain control over underwater sea domains, like the proposed US Advanced Undersea Warfare System, which envisions a network of fixed submarine stations capable of deploying defensive and offensive drones. Another example is the South China Sea, in which China is reportedly developing an expansive “Underwater Great Wall” composed of ships, bases, and drones, both on the surface and beneath the waves, to closely monitor the region and make it challenging for foreign navies to operate in international waters.

Some analysts claim that these developments signify the advent of a “new age of naval warfare,” which is characterized by an increasing reliance on autonomous maritime systems. Moreover, the increased number of sea drones may induce the growth of hybrid or “grey zone” approaches to conflict- tactics that avoid full-scale warfare, keep casualties to a minimum and impose significant costs on adversaries.

It is clear that underwater drone submarines are poised to play a pivotal role in the security and stability of coastal nations and global trade routes, and with the potential for disruptive threats and innovative defensive capabilities, countries must adapt and integrate these technologies into their long-term planning to ensure a secure and resilient maritime future.

This information was provided by Interesting Engineering.