“NUWC & USCG Evaluate Underwater Threat Detection” –SeaWaves

Atlantic Ocean (May 5, 2005) – Members of SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team Two (SDVT-2) prepare to launch one of the team’s SEAL Delivery Vehicles (SDV) from the back of the Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Philadelphia (SSN 690) on a training exercise. The SDVs are used to carry Navy SEALs from a submerged submarine to enemy targets while staying underwater and undetected. SDVT-2 is stationed at Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, Va., and conducts operations throughout the Atlantic, Southern, and European command areas of responsibility. U.S. Navy photo by Chief Photographer’s Mate Andrew McKaskle (RELEASED)

SeaWaves reports,

Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Division Newport’s Argus Expeditionary Maritime Defense System team recently partnered with the U.S. Coast Guard Research and Development Center to evaluate capabilities that could aid the Coast Guard’s detection efforts, particularly with counter-unmanned undersea vehicle missions.

Italian Manned Torpedo. Photographed 1998, Submarine Museum, Gosport.

Countering Unmanned Underwater Vehicles is perhaps a new area of interest for the Coast Guard, but underwater threats to shoreside facilities and harbors are not new. The most successful of the threat organizations was Italy’s 10th Assault Vehicle Flotilla, Decima Flottiglia MAS. They used a variety of surface and subsurface craft, including the one pictured above, in more than a dozen operations, to sank or damaged five warships (totalling 72,000 tons) and 20 merchant ships (totalling 130,000 GRT). These included the Heavy Cruiser HMS York (lost after being wrecked and run aground to keep her from sinking) and severe damage to battleships HMS Valiant (out of service for seven months) and HMS Queen Elizabeth (out of service for a year and a half).

There are lots of successor organizations out there including all of the “axis of evil” usual suspects. After all, swimmer delivery vehicles are a lot easier to build than submarines and diver propulsion devices are available commercially.

The increased challenge presented by UUVs is that they may be harder to detect, and once you identify a threat, how do you eliminate it?

2 United States Marines Cpt.Lawrence R Gentile and Ssgt Robert Romito Maritime Special Purpose Force (MSPF) with a Diver Propulsion Vehicle, or Device (DPD).

Croatian R-2M submersible, Photo by Ex13 via Wikipedia, 2010

Manned torpedo used by the Argentine Navy, especially built for operations in cold waters. Photo by DagosNavy via Wikipedia, 25 February 2010

Thanks to Paul for bringing this to my attention. 

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