Submersible drones to render Australia’s new submarines obsolete: Pentagon adviser

A key Pentagon adviser is warning Australia that its next submarine fleet purchase may be obsolete as a result of game-changing technology breakthroughs in drone warfare.

Despite the intense political debate over procurement of submarines in Australia, former US military naval adviser and submarine expert Bryan Clark said he had not been contacted by Government officials here.

The Federal Government is planning to build a fleet of 12 new submarines, thought to be worth tens of billions of dollars.

Mr Clark told Lateline the next class of submarines would arrive in the 2020s, and said he did not know whether the Government was looking at the new detection technologies being developed.

“It is something that should impact the design of the next class of [Australian] submarines,” he said.

“I’ve certainly been in contact with the US government in terms of what it might imply for how the next generation of US submarines needs to evolve.”

In the future we may find submarines … may have to operate more like an aircraft carrier where they stay offshore some distance to stay away from the threat.

Former US military naval adviser Bryan Clark

Mr Clark said new technologies, particularly developments in acoustic techniques, meant quiet submarines could be easily detected by the enemy, rendering them ineffective.

“New detection techniques are emerging that would allow you to find large man-made objects in the water more easily than in the past,” he said.

Mr Clark said the United States has relied on its submarines being undetectable and being able to operate with impunity in areas close to other countries, but “that is probably going to be coming to an end in the next 10-20 years with these new detection technologies”.

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Courtesy: ABC Lateline