Home' Asia Pacific Defence Reporter : APDR May 2017 Contents means by which task groups implement self-protective
MCM along intended routes, through choke points
and within objective areas.”
According to Saab, a well-known provider of MCM
systems to the RAN minehunter fleet, ‘The most
common MCM techniques are mine-sweeping and
mine-hunting, and the mantra to date has been ‘hunt
when you can, sweep when you must’. This means
that while mine-hunting can be an effective means
of clearing mines, external influences such as highly
reverberant and high-clutter environments, mine burial,
and stealthy mine cases can make mine-hunting
ineffective, so mine-sweeping may become necessary.’
Mine-hunters detect and classify individual mines by
sonar prior to sending out clearance divers or UUVs to
destroy them. Minesweepers clear whole minefields,
without prior detection of individual mines, usually
by towed mechanical means or electronic influence
devices that can reproduce various ship signatures,
thus triggering mine detonations.
Despite the obvious attraction of clearing a minefield
using influence sweeps, which usually operate from
the sea’s surface, there are still limitations to this
approach. If the type of mine in the field is known,
mine setting mode will cause detonation. Otherwise
target simulation mode reproduces the influence
of a warship or friendly ship moving through the
minefield. The limitation is that some mines may remain
undetected because their sophisticated triggering
mechanisms are set to activate on a type of ship not
covered in the influence sweep.
Incoming naval gunfire is best avoided by rapid
changes in track and the initiation of counter-fire.
The latest and currently most worrying threat is the
development of sophisticated anti-shipping missiles
(ASMs) that can be launched from land, air, or other
opposing ships. The sheer speed and range of these
missiles has been the major factor in building the
self-defence systems being installed in warships
today. Generally they are being defeated by electronic
counter-measures including decoys, anti-shipping
missile defences involving missiles from the vessel
under attack, or at a near last resort firing close-in
weapon systems (CIWS) like Phalanx or Goalkeeper.
The Australian-developed Nulka decoy system is an
integral part of the ship self defence system against
active RF anti-ship missile attacks on most US Navy
ships, as well as Australian and Canadian ships.
Its incorporation into a ship's layered defence
system provides ship survivability under high stress
conditions in the littoral and open ocean environments.
Because of the characteristics of the decoy payload
and the system's fast reaction time, the Nulka system
is effective around the whole ship and is independent
of the ship’s current track. At launch, the decoy
payload autonomously begins to engage the anti-
shipping missile’s seeker by simulating a radar return
from a large ship overlapping the targeted ship. The
decoy seduces the incoming missile by providing a
larger and more attractive target and moves it slowly
away from the ship, neutralising the attack.
One future threat under development in the US is
submarine launched ASMs. APDR has been following
developments by Lockheed Martin since 2015 after
first reading that their spokesperson had said “The
primary work there is to just get it out of the sub, free
of the water, and then once the engine starts it runs
just as if it was dropped off a plane or shot off a ship."
For this article APDR checked the current
situation and was supplied with this quote by
a Lockheed Martin spokesperson “Lockheed
Martin has evaluated the conditions involved with
launching from the Virginia Payload Modules on
US Navy submarines. We have performed proof of
concept testing including a capsule ejection test
and a canister designed specifically for LRASM.
We will continue to mature this technology through
additional company funded testing.”
If the US Navy does have this capability in the
near future, could other countries including China
be far behind?
In particular electronic warfare technology
will become even more important. There was an
announcement in mid-April of a collaborative project
with Australian industry, the Royal Australian Navy is
extending its use of simulation in training to ensure
future electronic warfare sailors are equipped with the
most advanced skills to successfully fight at sea. Navy
is planning to deploy a common electronic warfare
sensor suite across the future fleet and is matching the
training to meet upcoming demand.
Electronic warfare is any military action involving
the use of the electro-magnetic spectrum that can
involve directed energy weapons to attack an enemy.
Although HF/VHF/UHF radio and radar frequencies
are generally well understood, other parts of the
spectrum which can be used include infra-red, visible
light, lasers, etc.
The defensive aspect of electronic warfare involves
actions taken to protect personnel, facilities, and
equipment from any effects of friendly or enemy
use of the electromagnetic spectrum that degrade,
neutralize, or destroy friendly combat capability.
Jamming can be both an attack weapon and a
defensive one. Tools available include directional
infra-red countermeasures against infrared guided
missiles, chaff, decoys and flares.
Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon Christopher
Pyne MP, announced a contract signed with the
Australian company, Cirrus Real Time Processing
Systems Pty Ltd would see advanced new maritime
training systems designed and developed in Australia.
“The contract valued at around $4.4 million will see
the development of a tactical electronic warfare
training system to provide tuition, assessment and
qualification of electronic warfare practitioners across
the full range of Navy ships, from a single facility
ashore,” Minister Pyne said.
The sailors who will train and qualify on these
systems will have a greater understanding of electronic
warfare and a broader range of skills before they are
posted to a ship and work at sea.
APDR approached Cirrus’ Managing Director Mr.
Peter Freed who confirmed Cirrus' Simulation Training
Network (STN) technology will be adapted to provide
immersive simulation based training on the operation
of modern EW equipment against a range of threat
types within a scenario based simulation.
Mr. Freed stated: "I am pleased that Cirrus's
strength in complex simulation system design has
again been recognised through the awarding of
the TACEW contract. It is gratifying that Cirrus
is contributing to the greater share of this type
of advanced development work that is now being
undertaken by Australia's defence industry."
When a warship is motionless either at anchor
or tied up in harbour it can be vulnerable to an
adversary’s combat divers planning to affix explosives
to the hull. Although action movies often show
underwater fights between divers, this is not the
best way to tackle the challenge divers represent.
Mainly because you own side’s divers can have
their air breathing apparatus damaged, resulting in
a drowning. Much better to use sonar and patrol
underwater with remotely operated vehicles.
A surface ship’s self-defence against underwater
threats is best performed by alert Principal Warfare
Officers continually assessing the range of threats
with might be encountered and by studying sensor
inputs to detect any weapons that might target
When a warship is motionless either at anchor or tied up in
harbour it can be vulnerable to an adversary’s combat divers
planning to affix explosives to the hull.
Asia Pacific Defence Reporter MAY 2017 19
4/05/2017 3:17 PM
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