When Australia decided to buy a fleet of new nuclear-powered attack submarines earlier this month, it sparked international outrage. China labelled it a “cold war, zero sum mentality”. France was enraged at being left out. The deal will cost Australia $100 billion, and hand UK and US technology to a fleet of attack submarines, the apex predators of naval warfare. But by the time they are delivered in 20 years’ time, these submarines could be obsolete. No one really knows how these submarines would perform in a conflict situation. It’s true that submarines have occasionally launched cruise missiles at land targets, but there has been no real submarine combat since 1982, when HMS Conqueror torpedoed the General Belgrano off the Falklands. Exactly how well submarines fare against modern anti-submarine warfare (ASW) forces is a continuing debate.
Wired 29th Sept 2021 read more »