US Naval Institute reports that the Navy is doing something new in the Atlantic. They are establishing an on call Surface Action Group (SAG) “Navy Creates New Atlantic Destroyer Task Group to Hunt Russian Submarines.”
To me this highlights a couple of things. First apparently there is no comparable group in the Pacific. Second there is only one group to cover the entire East Coast and Gulf of Mexico. So if the Coast Guard calls on the Navy for assistance, its likely there will be a long wait.
To me this demonstrates an absence of any plan given it seems to be a reaction stemming from neglect. How many more effective and efficient ways could have been planned to better handle this task than 4 DLG/CLG ships, as that’s what they really are.
The first few public comments on the USNI webpage nailed it.
The US Navy has to call upon the AEGIS DESTROYERS for ASW because the new frigate and LCS have no shipboard ASW weapons and sonar. The new Constellation-class frigate was supposed to have an ASW sonar, but that was dropped. None of these smaller ships have torpedo tubes or even torpedo tube container modules that can be transported. The new frigate may have VLS ASROC, but it needs to detect the enemy sub first and ASROC is active torpedo which may come back and hit the frigate if it can’t pinpoint and lock onto the enemy submarine–it is not wire guided.
As such, it costs more money and a larger capital warship to conduct ASW, and I think that is wrong. NATO can conduct ASW with some frigates. (P-8s can too, but we’re talking ASW ships here).
Truth by the commentators, how hard is it for the US Navy to conduct future shipborne ASW if it does not have the proper ASW tools such as sonar and torpedo tubes on its new ships? Drones such as Sea Hunter may be used for ASW sonar sweeps and LCS and frigate escorts, but the US Navy hasn’t built a lot of Sea Hunters yet—and Sea Hunter might be too slow (27 KTS) to keep up with 35+ KTS frigates and LCS, let alone a Russian sub at Flank Speed.
Usually, it’s ship sonar that will “blast” the sub away in peacetime and the enemy sub knows that torpedo tubes are the US threat. The same scare can’t be as true with HH-60 dipping sonar if the helicopter doesn’t carry torpedoes and the ship also doesn’t.
The group’s name, Greyhound, is properly named because it takes ships to chase down subs and the WW2 movie had no helicopters to deploy. The frigate and LCS way would be to deploy HH-60s for ASW and that takes time to triangulate the bearings of the enemy submarine (“Hunt for Red October” novel is a classic example of the time spent hunting subs via ship and helo…and the frigate and LCS have no sonar and torpedo tubes. In the Clancy novel, a helicopter carrying two miniature torpedoes didn’t sink a sub because one of the torpedoes failed. A Burke-destroyer has SIX torpedo tubes for good measure, and VLS ASROC, sonar, towed array, and HH-60s. Hunting for subs with one ASW helicopter is much harder because the weapons are just two MK54s).
Such, the public’s criticism that it will cost $2 billion for a US Navy destroyer to hunt for peer nation subs compared to $1 billion for a frigate is just, in my opinion. How hard is it for the US Navy to build a well-rounded cheaper ship for AAW, ASW, and ASuW? I don’t even think any unmanned ship or drone on the drawing board can conduct all three for the US Navy.
The decision to drop the hull mounted sonar from the FFG is because the towed sonars they will have combine both active and passive and can be placed below the surface layer, in the deep sound channel.
The MH-60s have both sono-buoys and an dipping sonar that can be used both actively or passively.
I expect the FFGs will be very good ASW ships.
I also think that the reason for dropping the new frigate’s bow sonar is for cost and better seakeeping—or at least that is what the Sea Air Space 2021 Naval News video said.
I’m not doubting that the new frigates will not make very good ASW ships, just that having some more potency in the form of one or two triple-deck torpedo tubes wouldn’t hurt, or a torpedo tube room.
I think the no bow sonar is either for better handling in ice or due to Seaway max draft limit on the St. Lawrence. I just wish they’d look at the best bang for the buck. Sea Guardian looks like its got legs in international sales.