New Anti-Torpedo Decoys Could Give U.S. Navy Submarines A Fighting Chance Against Russia or China

Michael Peck

New anti-torpedo decoys for U.S. Navy submarines may do more than protect them from Russian or Chinese anti-submarine weapons.

They could also make U.S. submarine skippers more confident that their boats have a fighting chance even when their boats have been detected or fired on by anti-submarine weapons, according to an American naval expert.

At first glance, the impetus for this seems a routine military development project. The U.S. Navy is asking the private sector for ideas on how to create a layered defense of decoys to protect subs from torpedoes that use sonar to locate and home in on submarines.

Essentially, the Navy is looking for an underwater equivalent of the electronic warfare systems that protect military planes from anti-aircraft weapons. Modern combat jets like the F-35 have defensive suites that detect and jam enemy radars, and release flares to confuse heat-seeking missiles. What the Navy wants is a system that can use acoustic decoys – which use sound to divert or confuse homing torpedoes -- in a coordinated fashion to create a multilayer defensive screen.

“The countermeasures, which are based either on the existing 3-inch diameter Acoustic Device Countermeasure (ADC) Mk 2 Mod 7 and/or the existing 6-inch diameter ADC Mk 3 Mod 1, would have the ability to identify the incoming direction of a threat torpedo through an onboard receiver(s) or other devices/platforms in the engagement,” said the Navy research solicitation.

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