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Old 04-08-2011, 07:38 AM   #1
TLAM Strike
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My comments in regards to ACTUV operations and design.

Now I see quite a bit of potential for these platforms, but as portrayed in the DARPA sim they take one item for granted, the detection of the POSSUB by other assets first. As the name ACTUV implies this craft is for maintaining a trail on a contact of interest. As is in ACTUV Tactics there seems little in the way of initial detection and classification capabilities; The Remora is the only one that had the ability for long range detection. Given the shot range of the HF "Classification" sonar on most ACTUVs (except the easy mode Gator) there needs to be something that can both find targets some distance away and classify them as a contact of interest, given the size of the ACTUV this would be limited but one thing comes to mind: The ALFS on the Seahawk. Both the Seahawk and ACTUV are about the same size and the ALFS had both a good active sonar and passive sonar.

Now a VDS system had rarely been fitted to a submarine but it does offer a unique possibility, use while both streamed and stowed. Mating the transducer to the hull rather than inside of the ACTUV would allow it to be used in any mode. The sub can be cruising and search or it can stop and dip below the layer. In some way a ACTUV so equipped would be like a "Smart Sonobuoy".

Also there is the possibility employing armed ACTUVs close to shore of a hostile nation. The ACTUV is sufficiently large to carry many different weapon systems: it could carry one or more LWTs, it could also carry mine neutralization charges, it could also see a light gun like a .50 cal or 25mm mounted aboard or some kind of encapsulated Javelin ATGM to engage small craft.

Basically there is a lot of possibility in this ACTUV concept beyond the stated "Antisubmarine Continuous Trail" objective.
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Old 04-08-2011, 07:43 AM   #2
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I for one hope the world's militaries think long and hard before they arm a platform with no human in the loop.
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Old 04-08-2011, 07:50 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Frying Tiger View Post
I for one hope the world's militaries think long and hard before they arm a platform with no human in the loop.
I thought the ACTUV was intended to be remote operated like a Predator? It could at least be for the armed variant.
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Old 04-08-2011, 09:35 AM   #4
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I can easily see this as an possibility.

Remember the hoopla over the predator drones? Now everybody is like, oh cool, our guys aren't in harms way.

Make these autonomous, except for firing weapons. If they can fit a C&C package onto an oversized RC plane, then I'm pretty sure they have room for it on an armed ACTUV MK II. Firing authority can only come from a human source. The rest of it is automated.
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Old 04-08-2011, 10:25 AM   #5
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@TLAM: Mission creep!!!! (It's not just the sim that takes intial detection for granted; it's part of the mission concept itself)


My understanding was that these would be completely autonomous, save for some commands that could probably be issued by satellite.

My thoughts:

1. I'm troubled by the lack of passive sonar. Not a good one for finding SSKs, I know that's wasted effort (and cost). But a relatively weak one, I would guess anyways, would be useful for keeping track of a sprinting SSK that's trying to shake you loose, as well as help with identifying false returns.

2. What the heck is this thing going to be powered by? The "speed penalty" is so low on the scoring compared to maintaining contact with multiple sensors that it seems it's expected to cruise around at 20+ knots whenever not in contact.

3. It's easy enough to deal with a rogue freighter, but isn't it more likely that the platform running interference would be more like a Boghammar? There isn't anything the operator can do to evade something that is faster and more maneuverable. If these things are programmed not to be within 500 yards of even demonstrably hostile craft, they'll be forced off rather easily.

4. How will the targets (and their respective nations) react to this new trailing method? Will being blasted with MF active continuously from the time they leave port to the time they return cause any psychological issues for the crew (sleep deprivation?). Will destroying one of these create enough of an international incident that the target nation's forces would be deterred from doing so?
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Old 04-08-2011, 10:43 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Molon Labe View Post

1. I'm troubled by the lack of passive sonar. Not a good one for finding SSKs, I know that's wasted effort (and cost). But a relatively weak one, I would guess anyways, would be useful for keeping track of a sprinting SSK that's trying to shake you loose, as well as help with identifying false returns.
I agree with this, but I'm not sure on how accurate automated classification is with this type of system. I've heard reports on both ends of the spectrum.

Quote:
2. What the heck is this thing going to be powered by? The "speed penalty" is so low on the scoring compared to maintaining contact with multiple sensors that it seems it's expected to cruise around at 20+ knots whenever not in contact.
I thought that too. I would have to imagine they run at like 8-10 knots when not in tracking mode, so they have fuel to actually track. But from the DARPA mission specs, these things seem to have global range, and I dont know of any craft that has global range and then has power to conduct extended high speed ops for long periods of time, that isn't nuclear. And right now (if ever), there's no way they could convince anybody that an automated nuclear drone is a good idea.

Quote:
4. How will the targets (and their respective nations) react to this new trailing method? Will being blasted with MF active continuously from the time they leave port to the time they return cause any psychological issues for the crew (sleep deprivation?). Will destroying one of these create enough of an international incident that the target nation's forces would be deterred from doing so?
How would the US react if somebody shot down one of their spy drones right now? They might go "hey! Don't do that!". I really think it might become common to see other nations taking out or merely disabling these drones.
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Old 04-08-2011, 11:13 AM   #7
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The ACTUV is diesel-electric with a gas turbine booster "CODAG" (haven't you noticed the sound of it spooling up and down?) (grin)

The lower hull is almost all fuel. So it can go forever on the diesels, but eats fuel at high speed with the gas turbine.
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Old 04-08-2011, 11:17 AM   #8
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Try this on for size though.... Totally hypothetical, but of course this would be the forum where it would actually get noticed ().

What about a long range cruise missile torpedo? Ie, a Tomahawk tipped with a short range torpedo.

With ACTUV, there's no reason to move assets into a position where they could take return fire. Even the best sneak attack in sub warfare allows for some reaction time and a snap shot in return. If ACTUV is tracking a target, why couldn't they launch a torpedo on a cruise missile, and allow ACTUV to guide it to the target?

This would be no different than AWACS guiding in fighters for a BVR intercept. The firing decision would still be in human hands, pushing a button, and it avoids the problems of having armed drones crossing international borders. Most countries just grumble and mumble when unarmed drones invade their airspace, but get really upset when armed ones fly over.

The target would have little warning as there wouldn't be any noise until the torpedo splashes a few thousand yards away.

You could imagine one SSN having contact with a fleet of ACTUV's, and timing a launch so it would take out all the target SSK's at about the same time.


Quote:
The ACTUV is diesel-electric with a gas turbine booster "CODAG" (haven't you noticed the sound of it spooling up and down?) (grin)

The lower hull is almost all fuel. So it can go forever on the diesels, but eats fuel at high speed with the gas turbine.
Yes I have heard that. Very cool info. Thank you!.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Combined_diesel_and_gas
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Old 04-08-2011, 12:03 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gargamel View Post
How would the US react if somebody shot down one of their spy drones right now? They might go "hey! Don't do that!". I really think it might become common to see other nations taking out or merely disabling these drones.
UAVs get shot down all over the place without it being a major incident... BUT most of the time when that happens the UAV was intruding on someone's airspace. The ACTUV's will be in international waters. Most of the time. I would hope. (Hey, we just thought of another way to lose the trail!)
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Old 04-08-2011, 12:07 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gargamel View Post
Try this on for size though.... Totally hypothetical, but of course this would be the forum where it would actually get noticed ().

What about a long range cruise missile torpedo? Ie, a Tomahawk tipped with a short range torpedo.

With ACTUV, there's no reason to move assets into a position where they could take return fire. Even the best sneak attack in sub warfare allows for some reaction time and a snap shot in return. If ACTUV is tracking a target, why couldn't they launch a torpedo on a cruise missile, and allow ACTUV to guide it to the target?
I don't think that's a bad idea at all. Like a modern day Silex that can actually hit something. It makes even more sense when you consider that TACTOMs already have man-in-the-loop retargeting ability, so any course changes that the target makes during the missile's flight can be compensated for.
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