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Is it suicide for a sub to attack a modern flotilla?

 
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Is it suicide for a sub to attack a modern flotilla? - 9/2/2015 3:50:00 PM   
wild_Willie2


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Hi there,

After playing around with submarines for the last day I've come to the conclusion that it is almost impossible for a submarine to attack a modern flotilla of naval ships with torpedo's and escape alive when variable depth sonars, ASW helicopters and ASROCk like weapons are involved.

Only if I fire torpedo's at extreme range and try to keep them within the thermocline layer at slow speed I may get lucky enough to hit a target if the target only has a hull sonar, but whenever there is a variable depth sonar involved I almost always commit suicide by attacking.

A nuke boat may also get lucky and outrun pursuit if only 1 ASW helo is involved but a diesel boat is 100% toast once detected.

Is it really this bad IRL?




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RE: Is it suicide for a sub to attack a modern flotilla? - 9/2/2015 4:42:45 PM   
RoryAndersonWS


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The littoral environment is where diesels shine.

Give them a bit of bad weather to work with, darkness on a moonless night, rain and choppy shallow seas and they will get the job done.

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RE: Is it suicide for a sub to attack a modern flotilla? - 9/2/2015 6:06:20 PM   
wild_Willie2


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But will they escape once they have taken their shot?

I am not talking about approaching targets, this can be done with the correct planning but the question is: Can a sub attack a modern flotilla of naval ships with torpedo's and escape alive once the enemy knows it's rough position?

< Message edited by wild_Willie2 -- 9/2/2015 7:07:16 PM >


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RE: Is it suicide for a sub to attack a modern flotilla? - 9/2/2015 6:31:25 PM   
SeaQueen


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quote:


After playing around with submarines for the last day I've come to the conclusion that it is almost impossible for a submarine to attack a modern flotilla of naval ships with torpedo's and escape alive when variable depth sonars, ASW helicopters and ASROCk like weapons are involved.

Only if I fire torpedo's at extreme range and try to keep them within the thermocline layer at slow speed I may get lucky enough to hit a target if the target only has a hull sonar, but whenever there is a variable depth sonar involved I almost always commit suicide by attacking.

A nuke boat may also get lucky and outrun pursuit if only 1 ASW helo is involved but a diesel boat is 100% toast once detected.


The whole point of VDS, ASW Helos and ASROC-like weapons is to make things difficult.

I think the real trick with submarines is to recognize how vulnerable they are once detected, and also to understand what they're actually trying to accomplish on their mission.

Submarines, in general, probably don't want to get too close to warships. They're not tanks. They can't shoot their way into a given formation of warships. If they do, eventually they will be detected, attacked and killed. Surface ships have firepower, speed and endurance on their side where submarines might not necessarily. Helos extend the reach of their torpedoes. ASROCs form the next inner band of defenses. Inside of that are over the side torpedoes, RBUs and depth charges. If you have to attack one, you would probably be more survivable using long range ASCMs or max-range torpedo shots than trying to get close.

If they're attacking a surface ship it'd probably be smarter to focus on whatever it is the surface combatant is protecting, which generally isn't as heavily armed from an ASW perspective as a surface combatant. That might mean oilers, tankers, merchant vessels, aircraft carriers, amphibious ships, and other vessels which have a larger scale impact on the war effort. The name of the game is to use your sneaky stealth to avoid the combatants entirely, then blast the high value targets.

Even then, after you've shot, you've probably been detected. If you've hit anything, you've created a "flaming datum" to be searched. Even if you haven't, the sound of your weapons firing was enough to reveal your presence and say something about your location. At this point, trying to press the attack is foolhardy. Just run and hide. You still might not survive, but if you have any chance at all, that's your best chance.

quote:


Is it really this bad IRL?


Nobody can tell you that.

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RE: Is it suicide for a sub to attack a modern flotilla? - 9/2/2015 7:18:57 PM   
AlanChan

 

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I guess it is becasue CMANO people do not have access for classified info about seabed topology and currents position. I guess in real time, SSKs do not attack surface ship above a flat seabed with uniform thermal layer, they would hide somewhere using seabed feature or current to mask their position and attack. After attack, they sneak into seabed cayons or currents to avoid detection.

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RE: Is it suicide for a sub to attack a modern flotilla? - 9/2/2015 7:46:27 PM   
AlanChan

 

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Plus, sub attack sub seems to be suicidal. I tried several times to ordered my sub to attack another sub, the tone it opens torpedo tubes always alert its target and the target shoots two torpedos back. Most times both subs can not evade the torpedos, causing a draw.

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RE: Is it suicide for a sub to attack a modern flotilla? - 9/2/2015 8:25:04 PM   
wild_Willie2


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I don’t deny that you could use underwater geography in order to gain a tactical advantage in submarine warfare, but I seriously doubt that this is the game changer that you describe it to be as I have never even heard of it being used mentioned in any of the “official” submarine histories or biographies that I have read (please correct me if I am wrong).

Also most of the oceans are by far too deep for subs to make use of their bottom geography in a way that you describe and most of the coastal plains tend to be quite flat. There would also be the navigation factor to deal with, how do you plan to navigate you sub through a narrow canyon without banging away with your active sonar? GPS does not work underwater and to trust your boat, crew and mission on INS alone in order to traverse your secret underwater geography sounds a bit desperate to me. The real world is not like “The hunt for Red October” where you can race through a narrow underwater canyon by charts and stopwatches alone.
Also what are the chances of being able to approach your (moving) target through a secret geographical feature, getting into the correct firing position (while presumably still in or near your feature), firing and then turning around and retreating through this feature all without using active sonar?

Also, if you have never been able to sneak up to, or kill an enemy sub in Command without being killed yourself you’re doing something wrong as the AI doesn’t do BOL launches (yet).


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RE: Is it suicide for a sub to attack a modern flotilla? - 9/2/2015 9:18:39 PM   
SeaQueen


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That's not necessarily true. The vast majority of the ocean is quite flat (abyssal plain). If all they did was hang around at the features that might effect sonar performance then I'd know exactly where to hunt them and go kill them. Also, depending on what the climate is like in a given area the thermal layer might be fairly uniform, depending on what distance scale you're talking about.

You're right in a more general sense though, that sonar performance is often a lot less regular and dependable than one might hope. Isothermal mixed layers, for example, are correlated with the windy, cloudy parts of the ocean. The reason they exist is that the wind stirs up the upper layers of the sea. That does not mean, however, that on a not windy day there is not a surface duct. It takes a while for the mixing to dissipate so even on a glassy day, there might be surface duct.

Command's sonar model might also be optimistic for certain combinations of surface duct depths and certain frequency bands, due to certain effects not being captured. For example, for any duct there exists a "cutoff frequency" at which the duct's effect is no longer appreciable. One can imagine it to be the frequency/wavelength at which the sound waves no longer "fit" within the duct (see Urick's Principles of Underwater Sound p.151 for gory details). In real life, depending on the depth of the duct and the frequency of the signal, a surface duct might have no effect at all!

The other thing which I don't think Command captures well is how variable ambient noise in the sea can be. There exist something called Wenz curves (see p. 210 in Urick for a sample). There you can see how variable the ambient noise level can be depending on the presence of shipping, and the wind speed/sea state. It also depends on the frequency of the sound. Bare in mind, though Wenz curves are empirical formulas intended to produce an predict what one's "average" sonar performance might be. On any given day at any given moment, the actual measured ambient noise level might be something very different. I'm sure they make certain assumptions about ambient noise in Command. Are those good ones? I don't know... it depends.

In general, if I had to characterize sonar performance, the most important thing to capture in my mind is not whether or not system X can sense target Y at distance Z. It'd be the uncertainty of actually achieving the performance you think you ought to get due to a million different variables, none of which are accurately known.

quote:

I guess it is becasue CMANO people do not have access for classified info about seabed topology and currents position. I guess in real time, SSKs do not attack surface ship above a flat seabed with uniform thermal layer, they would hide somewhere using seabed feature or current to mask their position and attack. After attack, they sneak into seabed cayons or currents to avoid detection.


< Message edited by SeaQueen -- 9/3/2015 8:13:53 PM >

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RE: Is it suicide for a sub to attack a modern flotilla? - 9/2/2015 9:30:44 PM   
wild_Willie2


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quote:

One can imagine it to be the frequency/wavelength at which the sound waves no longer "fit" within the duct (see Urick's Principles of Underwater Sound p.151 for gory details)


Wow, I never would have though of this myself, time to dig up a copy of Urick's and have a look at this.

Thanks for the tip :)

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RE: Is it suicide for a sub to attack a modern flotilla? - 9/2/2015 10:41:27 PM   
SeaQueen


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I wouldn't recommend picking up a copy of Urick unless you were getting ready for some pretty hard core engineering. It's sort of the sonar engineer's bible, though, so it's a pretty good introduction to the relevant phenomenology. You'll find entire chapters in there about obscure things like the target strengths of fish with swim bladders.

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RE: Is it suicide for a sub to attack a modern flotilla? - 9/2/2015 11:06:17 PM   
StellarRat

 

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I'd be more inclined to think that CMANO doesn't do a job of simulating detection. We know for sure that subs penetrate ASW screens and "sink" carriers in full training exercises. That's as real as you can get without a war on. If even one sub does get close enough they can do a tremendous amount of damage to a group of ships. Modern torpedoes are DEADLY and don't miss too often. A single salvo of torpedoes can sink multiple targets. That doesn't even count anti-ship missiles that are carried by many subs. Unfortunately, I can't prove anything because as someone mentioned a great deal is classified. Without good info you can't make a 100% accurate simulation. We do know that a sub can track large warships much further away than they can be detected and so can wait for the perfect tactical situation to attack. You can't really simulate that very well in a larger scale game.

< Message edited by StellarRat -- 9/3/2015 12:11:09 AM >

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RE: Is it suicide for a sub to attack a modern flotilla? - 9/3/2015 1:56:21 AM   
thewood1

 

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But that sinking is simulated isn't it? Would that same sub escape if it fired a real torpedo. I am just wondering how simulated the simulated exercises really are.

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RE: Is it suicide for a sub to attack a modern flotilla? - 9/3/2015 2:35:13 AM   
SeaQueen


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It's also possible that one might sink a carrier and still not escape. Even if undetected, you just created a flaming datum.

quote:

ORIGINAL: thewood1

But that sinking is simulated isn't it? Would that same sub escape if it fired a real torpedo. I am just wondering how simulated the simulated exercises really are.


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RE: Is it suicide for a sub to attack a modern flotilla? - 9/3/2015 8:44:52 AM   
wild_Willie2


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Yes, over the years several subs have successfully prosecuted a simulated torpedo attack against US CV's during naval exercises involving carriers and subs. But one must also note that these exercises often heavily nerf the ASW screen (only a limited number of ASW assets airborne, no patrolling outside just a few miles from the TF, etz. etz.) to make them more interesting and efficient to all parties involved (note, you never hear of the exercises where the subs is sunk ingloriously). Without this nerfing of the ASW screen it would be much more difficult for a sub to approach and penetrate the ASW screen around the CV and this would thus not provide a meaningful and efficient exercise for the sub involved.

If there where unlimited funds available for naval exercises, one could run these exercises without limits ad infinitum until all parties are experts in these tasks, but as there are only limited funds available we have to put certain limitations on exercises to make them meaningful and efficient to both sides involved.


< Message edited by wild_Willie2 -- 9/3/2015 10:16:18 AM >


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RE: Is it suicide for a sub to attack a modern flotilla? - 9/3/2015 10:06:58 AM   
mikmykWS

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: wild_Willie2

Yes, over the years several subs have successfully prosecuted a simulated torpedo attack against US CV's during naval exercises involving carriers and subs. But one must also note that these exercises often heavily nerf the ASW screen (only a limited number of ASW assets airborne, no patrolling outside just a few miles from the TF, etz. etz.) to make them more interesting and efficient to all parties involved (note, you never hear of the exercises where the subs is sunk ingloriously). Without this nerfing of the ASW screen it would be much more difficult for a sub to approach and penetrate the ASW screen around the CV and this would thus not provide a meaningful and efficient exercise for the sub involved.


Interesting. Were you at these exercises or did you read about this somewhere?

quote:

If there where unlimited funds available for naval exercises, one could run these exercises without limits ad infinitum until all parties are experts in these tasks, but as there are only limited funds available we have to put certain limitations on exercises to make them meaningful and efficient to both sides involved.


They could buy command where sometimes you win and sometimes you lose though right?


< Message edited by mikmyk -- 9/3/2015 11:07:18 AM >


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RE: Is it suicide for a sub to attack a modern flotilla? - 9/3/2015 5:06:11 PM   
AlanChan

 

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You mean launch at max range and turn away immediately to run? I prefer not using this way because in real life cutting the optical fibre too soon and left the torpedo swiming unguided for a long time makes them less likely to hit any target.

The point is, if you get close enough for a high Pk launch, the noise of your tubes opening will get detected by your target and they react by returning fire.

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RE: Is it suicide for a sub to attack a modern flotilla? - 9/3/2015 6:24:54 PM   
wild_Willie2


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Until now it was just hear-say so I decided to read up on exercises, here are something I found rather quickly:

This is a report about an exercises in the 1969:

Phase 1: No precautions taken and a CV TF was engaged by two subs (phase one acts as the control):
The survival time of the carrier. In 144 exercise hours, the submarines conducted three torpedo attacks and nineteen launch events simulating the firing of seventy-eight missiles at the carrier. Eighty-seven percent of the missiles were judged to have met the bearing parameters for acquisition of their targets.

Phase 2: Precautions were taken by TF.
"The principal finding from Phase II was that UPTIDE dispersion and deception tactics allowed carriers and their escorts to avoid consistently encounters with submarines. In nearly 650 exercise hours, there were just fourteen launch events, simulating the firing of fifty-six missiles. Moreover, less than one-third of the missiles met the bearing parameters for acquisition. On average, the submarines went a hundred hours between valid fire-control solutions on the carrier and were unable to conduct any torpedo attacks."

https://www.usnwc.edu/getattachment/bfd7502d-682c-444d-946c-63245227ae68/Hiding-in-Plain-Sight--The-U-S--Navy-and-Dispersed

So if we just look at the results of phase one we can argue that the subs are highly effective in engaging a CV with torpedo’s while the results of phase two (tactics where changed) we can argue that subs are really bad at engaging CV’s with torpedo’s.

Therefore I can argue that the public bragging by submariners about the sinking of CV’s in exercises could often just be nuance free bragging as this virtual sinking often depends on the parameters of the exercise.


< Message edited by wild_Willie2 -- 9/3/2015 7:34:54 PM >


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RE: Is it suicide for a sub to attack a modern flotilla? - 9/3/2015 6:53:49 PM   
wild_Willie2


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@ Alanchan, you make it sound like the opening of the torpedo tubes is done by banging them open with a sledgehammer and this can be heard from 10 miles away :S

If the targeted sub hasn't detected the attacking sub yet, then the opening of the tubes will almost certainly not betray it (or somebody must have REALLY screwed up badly in the design of the tubes). However what could probably be detected by the target is the high speed torpedo that is being launched by the attacking sub and which is now coming strait at it. As far as I have heard, the standard reaction of a submarine to an incoming torpedo is indeed to perform a "snap shot" (launching in the general direction of the target) hoping that this will either force the attacking sub to perform evasive maneuvers and thus loose contact with it's target or make it break the guidance wires directing the torpedo. Both instances will increase the survival chance of the target. But the Ai in game doesn't do this yet.





< Message edited by wild_Willie2 -- 9/3/2015 8:17:16 PM >


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RE: Is it suicide for a sub to attack a modern flotilla? - 9/3/2015 9:10:10 PM   
AlanChan

 

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This trobuled me a lot, I tried to sneak near target sub using creep speed, usually from side to avoid alter head sonar or towed arrays, get in to two/third of max range of torpedo, and fire. Then after about 30 sec, the target usually turn to me and return fire.


I guess my problem is, the target picked my noise before I fire at them. but I tried to engage from different positions, my targets seems know my position most of times.


< Message edited by AlanChan -- 9/3/2015 10:15:47 PM >

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RE: Is it suicide for a sub to attack a modern flotilla? - 9/3/2015 9:36:28 PM   
wild_Willie2


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T@ Alanchan try this, if your target is detected move into the layer, pause the game and launch two torpedo's at it. Then run the game in real time until your first torpedo's are fired and are visible and pause again. Now select the torpedo and press F2, a torpedo speed and depth screen will pop up. Now select the slowest speed and set your torpedo to a depth INSIDE the layer. Run the game in real time again until torpedo two is launched and repeat these steps. Once the torpedo's are underway turn your sub slowly perpendicular to the target and keep tracking it.

Your torpedo's will now move towards their target relatively quite and inside the layer and will hopefully only be detected once they are close to their target.

Good hunting :)


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RE: Is it suicide for a sub to attack a modern flotilla? - 9/4/2015 7:02:17 AM   
magi

 

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I'll try that.....

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RE: Is it suicide for a sub to attack a modern flotilla? - 9/4/2015 5:14:33 PM   
StellarRat

 

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In Dangerous Waters you could launch wake homing torpedoes with very little information. All you really need was a bearing and very rough range. I'd just salvo them at about 7500 meters or less with a spread. I'd set them to go active after 1000 meters or so (IIRC). If you're attacking a whole task force who's really cares if you waste some torpedoes? Some of those torpedoes are bound to cross a wake and start tracking. Same with active/passive sonar torpedoes. The wire isn't really that important (or shouldn't be.) If you launch a self-guided weapon at a whole bunch of targets it's probably going to lock-on to SOMETHING. Accidently, sinking a destroyer or cruiser instead of the carrier is still adding to the war effort.

< Message edited by StellarRat -- 9/4/2015 6:39:15 PM >

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RE: Is it suicide for a sub to attack a modern flotilla? - 9/4/2015 7:34:44 PM   
FTBSS

 

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Its not opening the torpedo doors that causes the majority of noise (it does cause some more from water flow then mechanism) however when a torpedo is launched from a tube it is expelled using pressurized gasses this causes alot of noise.

The Seawolf torpedo tubes are oversized and the torpedo is allowed to swim out not be fired out of the tube ( I don't know if this is modeled in game.

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RE: Is it suicide for a sub to attack a modern flotilla? - 9/4/2015 8:47:01 PM   
thewood1

 

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Do tubes get flooded before the doors open or do they flood from the doors opening?

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RE: Is it suicide for a sub to attack a modern flotilla? - 9/4/2015 10:18:04 PM   
AlmightyTallest

 

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Regarding the rules of various exercises, Wild Willie is correct. This unclassified document may help to give an idea of some of the many restrictions on submarines and surface units while engaged in training exercises.

https://info.publicintelligence.net/NATO-SubmarineManual.pdf


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RE: Is it suicide for a sub to attack a modern flotilla? - 9/4/2015 10:20:23 PM   
bradinggs


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Might be interesting to put this into a scenario and see what happens. Not sure of the details though. This happened some years back, SA sub sinks all NATO ships in exercise.

http://mg.co.za/article/2007-09-04-sa-submarine-outwits-nato-force

< Message edited by bradinggs -- 9/4/2015 11:22:50 PM >

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RE: Is it suicide for a sub to attack a modern flotilla? - 9/4/2015 11:49:42 PM   
ExNusquam

 

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quote:

The Seawolf torpedo tubes are oversized and the torpedo is allowed to swim out not be fired out of the tube ( I don't know if this is modeled in game.


Got a source on that one? I understand the Seawolf has wider tubes, but everything I've ever read indicates that torpedoes don't usually have the power to get themselves out of a tube without a push. See this post.

quote:

ORIGINAL: thewood1

Do tubes get flooded before the doors open or do they flood from the doors opening?

The tubes are flooded and equalized in pressure with the surrounding seawater before the doors are opened. This reduces the transient noise from opening the doors.

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RE: Is it suicide for a sub to attack a modern flotilla? - 9/5/2015 1:23:54 AM   
AndrewJ

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: AlmightyTallest

Regarding the rules of various exercises, Wild Willie is correct. This unclassified document may help to give an idea of some of the many restrictions on submarines and surface units while engaged in training exercises.

https://info.publicintelligence.net/NATO-SubmarineManual.pdf



Fascinating document, thank you for posting it.

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RE: Is it suicide for a sub to attack a modern flotilla? - 9/5/2015 2:40:25 AM   
FTBSS

 

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you can check military. com for source it has the capability but has been rarely used. Not permitted to post link apparantly

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RE: Is it suicide for a sub to attack a modern flotilla? - 9/6/2015 7:46:48 PM   
LoBlo

 

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I would add that the only known "modern" SSN to SAG engagement that I'm aware of the the HMS Conquerer's sinking of the ARA Belgrano in 1982, although that's now 30+ years ago. But Argentina's ASW capabilities were very limited and so thus the threat to the HMS SSNs. Finding the best use of the RN SSNs was the biggest challenge at that time. If your interested in a read, I'ld recommend Sink the Belgrano by Mike Rossiter. http://www.amazon.com/Sink-Belgrano-Mike-Rossiter/dp/0552155454

I would consider the state of readiness of the opponent SAG has to been absolutely crucial. ASW helo aloft, active sonar transmissions, alertness of the crew, etc. but the reality is that for us layperson's, the questions of 1) how well SAGs detect subs, 2)how easy and at what range would the torpedo be heard's, 3)the real effectiveness of active sonar and at what ranges, 4) how effective are lightweight torpedo seekers, are all questions that will never be answered and can only be speculated. Only the RL military engineers and commanders that design, test, and use these things in RL can answer those and they don't talk. All other 'simulations' are purely hypothetical.

lb

< Message edited by LoBlo -- 9/6/2015 9:48:41 PM >

(in reply to FTBSS)
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