Naval warfare will change forever if submarines turn into underwater aircraft carriers

Imagine a future in which nuclear attack submarines (SSNs) can deploy unmanned undersea vehicles (UUVs) to hunt, and possibly kill, enemy subs. The U.S. Navy, at least, is taking steps to make this a reality.

Imagine a future in which nuclear attack submarines (SSNs) can deploy unmanned undersea vehicles (UUVs) to hunt, and possibly kill, enemy subs. The U.S. Navy, at least, is taking steps to make this a reality. What impact could aircraft-carrying unmanned underwater vehicles have? On the one hand, UUVs could shake modern antisubmarine warfare (ASW) to its core, making existing platforms vulnerable or obsolete. On the other hand, the development of UUVs could reinforce existing hierarchies; in contrast to popular understanding, established organizations are often the best at adapting to disruptive military innovations. The future of the U.S. Navy depends to great extent of which of these becomes a reality.

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