Why nobody thinks about putting anti-air missiles on subs?

Discussion in 'Weapons, Technology & Equipment' started by vashstampede, Jan 25, 2015.

  1. vashstampede

    vashstampede Active Member

    The only real effective weapons against subs are anti-sub aircraft. They can detect and launch torpedoes at the subs which by then are sitting ducks.

    Right now the only advantage of the sub is that it's hard to be detected. However, once a sub is detected, it can do nothing but try to run and hide. So why can't we just install some anti-air missiles on the sub to blow these anti-sub aircraft out of the sky?

    Subs can already launch ballistic missiles and cruise missiles from underwater, so I don't think it is a problem to also launch anti-air missiles when submerged. It is a lot easier to fight back than try to run like a sitting duck lol. Not to mention with aa missiles, subs can actually ambush aircraft from beneath the sea.

    What do you think?
  2. Interrogator#6

    Interrogator#6 Active Member

    Consider if you will the problem of a submerge SS attempting to fire an AA missle at an Aerocraft. Aerocraft MOVE. This means to knock down a single aerocraft probably will take a volly of several missles, and even then the percentage of hits seems low.

    But to launch a volley of missles from underwater will seemingly pinpoint a subs location.
  3. vashstampede

    vashstampede Active Member

    It will probably take 2~3 missiles to take down a single aircraft, but the hit rate should be higher with choppers which are more commonly used in anti-sub operations.

    I am not saying subs should be actively attacking aircraft. One good use for the AA missiles is that when the sub was already detected and being chased by aircraft. Instead of being a helpless sitting ducks, it can now fight back and pose a great threat.
  4. Interrogator#6

    Interrogator#6 Active Member

    "It will probably take 2~3 missles to take down a single aircraft...."

    I think you are wildly over-estimating your miracle missle. First, you have to know there is an aircraft, fast mover or helo. Next, know approximatly where it is, and the height. Then factor in the salinity barrier in the ocean, something which bends sound and other waves going up or down.

    Then the missle must be robust enough to withstand both pressure of the ocean depths and resist saltwater getting at the electronics. It will have to operate independently, without assistance from the SS itself. And when launched from ocean depths, there is no ready oxigen, meaning added weight.

    Then it will have to be resistent to jamming.

    This sounds like an expensive solution.
  5. vashstampede

    vashstampede Active Member

    AA missiles are smaller than ballistic missiles. If a sub has no problem launch ballistic missiles, it can certainly launch AA missiles. Of course, the AA missiles must be redesigned to fit into this role, but it can be done since it has been done with ballstic missiles.

    You are underestimate the AA missiles. If it takes more than 2~3 missiles to take down a single aircraft, then I would say these AA missiles are either outdated or not very capable at all from the start. Most destroyers only carry 30~40 AA missiles at most since they have to carry other missiles such as anti-ship and cruise missiles. If it takes so many AA missiles to just down a single aircraft, how many aircraft can they down before they run out of missiles?

    The AA missiles from the sub should requires no radar assisting. Although it should be able to get shared data from its data link with nearby friendly units which actually have a radar (ships, jets, etc.), it is totally possible for the AA missiles to lock onto the electronic signals those anti-sub aircraft used to pinpoint the subs, and it can also lock onto their heat signatures. Don't forget that all these anti-sub aircraft have to get to quite close to the sub in order to attack it. This fact makes it also easier for the sub to counter-attack them with AA missiles. No long range radar is required in such close quarter encounter.

    After blow the threat out of the sky, the sub will be long gone or at least be at a different location by the time another anti-sub aircraft has arrived in the last known location of the sub.
  6. GearZ

    GearZ Member

    Some World War II era subs had AA equipment to fend off aircraft whilst surfaced. Modern subs, it is kind of a moot point. The threat from the air is very different. That and the reasons Interrogator#6 mentioned make it an unlikely piece of equipment.
  7. vashstampede

    vashstampede Active Member

    There might be some small technical difficulties at this moment, but nothing major from what I have seen.

    More importantly, there is a reason for it. I don't see destroyers being the #1 threat to modern subs. The chance of having a destroyer come cross a sub within (destroyer's) weapon range is small and I don't see destroyers go chase after subs by itself. All destroyers carry anti-sub helicopters these days, and these helicopters are the threat to the subs.

    Interrogator brought up the cost issue. While long range AA missiles could be expensive, short ranged AA missiles for dealing with choppers are fairly cheap.
  8. jrj1701

    jrj1701 Member

    @vashstampede The problem that I think that you are not seeing is that to be able to utilize an AA missile system you need radar support and submarines do not have that, most subs do not operate with fleets, they are independent and their location is vague because their biggest asset is that they are hard to detect, if you saddle them with a AA system then you will be removing their biggest asset.
  9. vashstampede

    vashstampede Active Member

    Actually every carrier group has at least one submarine underneath the fleet.

    Lock onto choppers within visual range does not require a radar. Think about shoulder launched stingers. It uses the heat signature to lock onto the chopper. The anti-sub choppers require to get into fairly short distance before using its torpedo on the detected sub anyway, which makes it vulnerable to the most short ranged AA missiles.

    In the case of a radar is needed, early warning aircraft can provide data from its radar from several hundred miles out.
  10. Interrogator#6

    Interrogator#6 Active Member

    Vash, if you think you have a viable underwater AAA missle system conception packet I am sure a number of manufacturers would be interested in talkig with you. But you have yet to convince even the few of us here with little technical expertise that your ideas have merit.

    When a submarine is doing its best trying to impersonate a hole in the ocean I imagine them to be several hundred feet, if not meters, deep under the waves. And in this stealth mode they do NOT wish to draw attention to themselves. They do not want to fire up any sort of search radar to look for possible hostile aircraft above them. So how do the submariners learn of a hostile helo's presence?

    Now assuming the SS is ready to fire one or more missles, is that not going to confirm their presence?

    Let postulate the SS fires a single or volley of missles, and they gain 50 feet of altitude before switching on their radar, does this not alert the helo? Is there not time for counter-measures?

    My point is this SS AAA system seems impracticable.
    jrj1701 likes this.
  11. vashstampede

    vashstampede Active Member

    Once again, heat seeking missiles do not require a radar to find and attack a target.
    Second, like I said earlier, early warning aircraft from hundreds miles away can detect aircraft and share the information with the sub.
    Third, it has been tried during WWII to create an anti-air sub but it didn't work well due to no anti-air missile technology back then. It did however surprised the enemy aircraft.

    With advanced anti-air missiles, sub has a fighting chance against anti-sub choppers. Ok, I agree actively seeking and attack passing by aircraft might be a risk to compromise more important missiles, but attack an anti-sub chopper which has already trying to chase down the sub is out of self-defense. You got nothing to lose when you are already detected and chased by the enemy.
  12. jrj1701

    jrj1701 Member

    @vashstampede How would a sub communicate with an early warning aircraft like AWACS or the E-2?
  13. Interrogator#6

    Interrogator#6 Active Member

    When SS are deep submerged, doing their best to impersonate a hole in the ocean, normal means of communication are not possible. Radar will not penitrate deep ocean, which helps hide the SS. Normal FM and AM radiowaves do not penetrate deep ocean. In fact the only RELIABLE means to communicate with deep ocean SS is a special Long Wavelength radio frequency: ELF, Extreme Long Frequency radio.

    Do you know of ELF? Ever heard if it? Up until about 1975 it was an experimental electromagnetic band. Not until a large array was built in northern Wisconsin was it even used to send messages to deep ocean SS. Messages can be sent to SS but deep ocean SS do not often respond, as that would reveal their location.

    So, the scenario as it stands, A USN deep ocean SS is somewhere, someplace in the world's ocean, hiding, undetected, and the US does not know precisly where the SS is. An enemy helo searches, using buoy arrays to search for it, pinging away. The deep ocean SS can hear the pings, so it knows it is being hunted. It is being hunted, but is still safe.

    Suddenly several AAA missles pop up from the ocean waves, confirming there is something below. And the missles destroy several helos, but not all the enemy helos. Now armed with the definite presence of a SS, a fast moving ASW airplane moves in an parachute drops several ASW torpedoes. By the time these torpedoes reach the surface of the ocean the ASW fixed-wing aircraft is already out of range.

    The torpedoes, now in the water, start active sonar-pinging for the SS, armed with the certain knowledge of the presence of an SS. It is only a matter of time.

    For the cost of several helo a very expensive deep ocean missle SS is lost.
    jrj1701 likes this.
  14. vashstampede

    vashstampede Active Member

    Unless the fixed-wing aircraft was already on the scene, and it is immune to the AA missiles from the sub, I don't see how everything can go so smoothly for the anti-sub force.

    Assume there were actually choppers survived the AA missiles, and were able to report the precious location of the sub, it should still take several minutes (at least) for the fix-wing aircraft to arrive on the scene, and even then the sub should have moved at least a few kilo from its original position. What is the range of the torpedoes? Can it lock onto any sub within a few kilo and 100% destroy it through sub's counter-measure?
  15. Interrogator#6

    Interrogator#6 Active Member

    Vashstampede, have you ever read anything on modern ASW? There has been much ink spilled for years by many very intelligent professional naval officers, as well as armchair amatures, on a wide array of problems and issues. There are professionally produced magazines which print these intelligently written articles. You can read several books by Tom Clancy or Larry Bond which wresel with ASW.

    Please read some of this literature. I make this request because I am precieving that you are having a problem visualizing the modern ASW battlefield.

    There is, or was, a computer game which does a fairly good job in presenting problems and scenarios in modern naval warfare. I speak of HARPOON. It is based on a game by Larry Bond. He has written several best-selling novels on modern battles, naval and land. Tom Clancy knew of this game and went looking for Larry, meeting him, befiending him, all before he started writting "Hunt For Red Oktober."

    Together Larry and Tom have spoken with MANY military and naval professionals. Please check out their writings.
    jrj1701 likes this.

Share This Page