China Looks to UUVs and AI to boost Submarine Warfare Capabilities

The robot submarine (and unmanned surface ship) era nearly is upon us. Chinese naval strategists say they intend to circumvent their long-recognized weakness in submarine warfare by cultivating undersea artificial intelligence (AI) and by developing capable unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs). As reported by The Military & Aerospace Electronics:

“The Achilles Heel of the Chinese navy long has been undersea warfare. The Middle Kingdom’s nuclear submarines are considered noisy, with their nuclear missile submarines only recently taking up what might loosely be considered an actual deterrent patrol. …Even if China could field quiet submarines with proficient crews, the geography is not conducive to the extensive operation of submarines, given the shallow waters off of most of China’s coastal regions. The Chinese navy also lacks experience in hunting adversary submarines, since it is just now starting to field advanced fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters for that purpose. Yet, now these trends are starting to reverse.”

For a detailed assessment of the Chinese posture, please see this background article by Lyle J. Goldstein, Research Professor in the China Maritime Studies Institute (CMSI) at the United States Naval War College in Newport, RI, at The National

Thanks to CDR David Place (USN/Ret), davidplace47[at]gmail[dot]com, and Robin E. Alexander, President ATC, alexander technical[at]gmail[dot]com, for their assistance with this report, the background for which appeared in their  # 21 - 8 – 25 MARCH 2021 edition of the UNMANNED SYSTEMS NEWS (USN).

David distributes the USN, a free, comprehensive newsletter in PDF format every week or two, as well as serial news flashes, from which this NREF news update was sourced. To be included in his distribution, simply send David a subscribe request to davidplace47[at]gmail[dot]com.