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.
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?
Thanks to Paul for bringing this to my attention.