Friday, January 5, 2018

UUV Seizures

In the latest slap in the face for the Navy, Houthi rebels have reportedly captured a Navy REMUS 600 unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) off the coast of Yemen. (1) 

In a similar incident in Dec 2016, the Chinese Navy seized a U.S. UUV about 50 miles northwest of Subic Bay in the Philippines as the drone was in the process of being recovered.  The UUV was later returned.

These incidents raise some interesting issues regarding UUV operations.

Sovereignty

According to Peter Cook, Pentagon press secretary, the UUV is a sovereign American vessel just as any Navy ship is.

“The UUV [unmanned underwater vehicle] is a sovereign immune vessel of the United States.” (2)

The Maritime Awareness Project website affirms that position.

“… the seizure was unlawful because the drone enjoyed sovereign immunity as a U.S. vessel.” (4)

If UUVs are sovereign US vessels then their seizure in international waters is illegal, at best, and an act of piracy or war, more likely.  This is tantamount to a foreign country seizing a US naval warship which would be an act of war.

Clearly, the US has no policy for dealing with this occurrence other than strongly worded notes of protest.  Evidence for this is that the US has failed to defend or, indeed, take any action in the past when foreign countries have seized our military assets.  Recall the Chinese force-down, seizure, and dismantling of the EP-3 in April 2001 or the recent Iranian seizure of two riverine boats and crews.  No action was taken by the U.S. in either case.

We need to establish a response policy and, preferably, one that recognizes the illegality of the action and responds accordingly and forcefully.

Protection

If drones are going to be seized, we need to give consideration to providing protection for them.  We need to have ships or aircraft available to respond to seizures.  For example, the Chinese seizure of the UUV should have elicited a SEAL retrieval operation and/or sinking of the Chinese ship.  It is clear that the Chinese are not in the least deterred by either international law or U.S. military forward presence.  What is needed is a swift and brutal response that makes it clear that we will not accept the seizure of sovereign U.S. property.  You don’t placate a bully, you punch them hard in the nose.

Safety

Referring to the Dec 2016 seizure by the Chinese, a Chinese spokesman had this to say.

"The Chinese navy discovered the device -- and identified and verified it in a responsible and professional manner. … And they did so to prevent it from harming navigational and personnel safety of passing ships." (3)

While the statement is just the usual lies and spin from the Chinese, it does raise an interesting point – who is responsible for the operation of UUVs when they come in contact with commercial or naval ships?  Will a UUV apply the navigational and safety rules of the sea?  Are ships under any obligation to avoid UUVs?  Who is financially responsible if a UUV causes damage to a ship?  Who is responsible if a UUV causes a death?

The US seems to be operating UUVs on an ever-expanding basis and without enough positive control to even avoid seizures so what makes us think that we can avoid potentially detrimental interactions with ships?  True, a UUV is not big enough to substantially damage a ship of any size but they can certainly foul fishing nets, drag nets and equipment away, foul and damage rudders and props, and potentially cause collisions as ships attempt to steer out of their way.  They could certainly severely damage or sink fishing boats and put lives at risk.

We need to carefully think through our operational policies as they pertain to commercial and naval shipping.

Area of Operation

The Houthi UUV seizure suggests that we are operating UUVs within other country’s territorial waters.  This is not surprising as it is generally acknowledged that we operated submarines within enemy territorial waters during the Cold War.  It does, however, mean that we need to think through the ramifications of being caught operating within territorial waters.

Does the procedure of Innocent Passage (as defined in UNCLOS) apply to a drone?  If it does, can Innocent Passage be claimed if a UUV is conducting surveillance or even benign oceanographic surveys?

If one of our UUVs is caught operating in another country’s territorial waters is that an illegal act, as we would undoubtedly accuse anyone of who would do that to us, and would we acknowledge the illegality of it?  Are we prepared to accept the hypocrisy inherent in those positions?  Our behavior in the Cold War would suggest we are.  If so, that undermines our moral high ground as we criticize China’s manifold territorial transgressions.  Are we comfortable with that double standard?

Technology

If seizing American UUVs is going to become the new international sport, are we comfortable with the loss of technological secrets that goes with that?  If not, and referring back to protection and sovereignty issues, are we prepared to use force to protect our UUVs?




We have more than enthusiastically plunged into the production and use of unmanned vehicles/vessels without taking the time to think through the associated issues.  I would urge the military and government to think about these issues and formulate relevant policies before the various events discussed herein occur.



_________________________________________

(1)Navy Times website, “Video reportedly shows Houthi rebels with captured underwater Navy drone”, Geoff Ziezulewicz, 3-Jan-2018,

(2)The Guardian website, “Chinese warship seizes US underwater drone in international waters”, Julian Borger, 16-Dec-2016,

(3)CNN website, “China returns seized US underwater drone” Steven Jiang and Kevin Bohn, December 20, 2016,

(4)Maritime Awareness Project website,




46 comments:

  1. A small explosive charge with an audible warning that says, "I am a thirty second bomb, I am a twenty-seven second bomb, . . .," might do the trick.

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    1. Wasn't that a Starship Troopers (book version) weapon mode?

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    2. It was. Good memory!

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    3. Too funny I thought the same thing. It's like triple charged 7.62 rounds left for the enemy to find and use. Boom. Or use redundant self powered GPS. Wait for the stolen UUV to stop and drop a bomb on it. Oops.

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    4. And the good news is that this would not take a navy seal team to retrieve. I can just see the memo to Chinese militia fleet after that story leaked. "We want their UUV's but....don't bring them here.
      Sailors being sailors....Sorry comrade we didn't find any USN UUV's.

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  2. CNO,

    I think it would help if they were not painted in bright yellow, if the photo circulated with the news is accurate.



    Andrew.

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    1. Yeah, where's that blue cammo that the Navy made the sailors dress in?

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  3. Well if that or any UUV ( or UAV ) is on a spying mission within territorial Waters of a enemy obviously the most important thing is not to get caught in the first place.

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    1. Well ...... Unfortunately, we seem to get caught with some regularity. Off the top of my head, I recall the Iranians capturing a UAV and the Houthis shooting down a UAV and capturing a UUV, all within territorial limits. So, I think we can safely say that the "most important thing" is not going to happen! We will get caught so we need policy for dealing with it.

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    2. Don't worry about policy, they got that figured out since the U-2 shoot down in 1960.
      After that incident someone tought that its better not to have a guy in the cockpit at all , hence the development of UAV's like the D-21 for territorial overflight to todays RQ-170 witch are disclosed systems - who knows whats flying and swimming "out there".

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    3. So what should our policy be when caught? We can't very well pretend it's not ours. Do we just say nothing and wait for the incident to go away? Do we strike the captured device to destroy the technology? Do we issue an apology and then launch a replacement drone? What do you suggest?

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    4. It depends policy should be flexible, whats get "caught" and by whom, its one situation if a vehicle gets caught by Pakistan another if it gets caught by Iran and a totally different one if caught by China.

      " Do we strike the captured device to destroy the technology?"

      Now that situation can be resolved more elegantly, unlike the suggestion above just to equip the spy vehicle with a self destruct mechanism ( now imagine if caught by Chinese a bunch try to open it and it blows up in they're faces - now that would spark a lot more worse incident ) .

      The hardware and electronic systems should be wired to a mechanism that if the vehicle is opened incorrectly initiate a power surge and basically fry everything so that the enemy cannot retrieve anything useful.

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    5. "It depends policy should be flexible"

      One could argue that policy that is totally flexible isn't policy.

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    6. "now imagine if caught by Chinese a bunch try to open it and it blows up in they're faces - now that would spark a lot more worse incident "

      This is utterly absurd. If China illegally seizes our UAV/UUV then they have to expect possible consequences.

      The analogy is a burglar breaking into a home and the homeowner having been too afraid to install an alarm because the burglar might get mad.

      This kind of fear and appeasement is rampant and is as wrong now as it was prior to WWII.

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  4. If its an act of war to seize the drone then its an act of war to send it into the airspace of a foreign country just as sending an squadron of F-15s would be.

    It may be a wiser policy to leave it grey.

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    1. "Leave it grey" IS a policy, if we want it to be. It's a poor policy and I'd like us to give it a bit more thought. It also makes it hard for us to complain if someone violates our territorial space!

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    2. "If its an act of war to seize the drone then its an act of war to send it into the airspace of a foreign country"

      What do you think? Can we justify sending unmanned vehicles into another country's air/water space? If so, what's our justification? Do the ends justify the means? If not, how do we collect the intel needed to protect ourselves?

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    3. Well that is the issue and why leaving it a grey area may be the best policy.

      We need the intel and drones can provide that but we have to accept that we will lose some of them on occasion.

      If we stand firm on the claim that they are 'our aircraft' then we have to accept that we are committing an act of war to get the intel.

      There are times when that could be a very dangerous stance and get us into situations or international incidents that we would rather avoid.

      If Iran shoots down an American F-15 that will escalate quickly. If we make a drone the same as that F-15 we are doing more to limit ourselves than the Iranians. We can no longer send in these assets as easily as we would have otherwise.

      There are good arguments both ways and as drones develop more combat potential I think that we will have to regard them as we do aircraft now. Your argument will certainly win eventually I am just not certain that 'now' is to our advantage. We certainly can't have unmanned bombers flying through our airspace.

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    4. So, you're opting to pass on formulating a policy? Well, consider this possible justification/policy.

      Policy: We will routinely violate the territorial space of potential enemies and insist that they do not do so to us.

      Justification: Just as parents have the right and, indeed, duty to violate the privacy of their children (look through drawers, check phones and computers, etc.) in order to ensure obedience and safety as the children slowly grow, learn, and mature, so to does the U.S. have the right to monitor the personal space (territorial space) of miscreant, childish countries that have not yet grown and matured into responsible, adult countries.

      This policy codifies the U.S. belief that we are, indeed, better than our potential enemies and that they have no rights until they demonstrate that they have matured into responsible, well behaved world neighbors.

      Agree or disagree, it's at least a logically consistent policy unlike our current grey non-policy.

      What do you think?

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    5. The United States doesn't have that sort of power to impose without cost on a nation like China or even lesser powers. The cost of attempting to do so could be significant if they choose to ignore such declarations.

      Does that mean war if Iran or North Korea shoot down those drones or seize them? If not you open the US government to ridicule and being seen as impotent. If you choose war then that is a massive cost for very little upside.

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    6. War??!! Where did any mention of war come from?

      The US certainly has the power to impose the stated policy if it wishes. For example, when Iran seized our UAV, one or two cruise missiles to the UAVs location would destroy the UAV, protect the technology, deny the UAV to Iran, and send the clear message that you don't touch our UAVs. That's not war! It's just a simple spanking of a misbehaving child, to use the analogy.

      The same applies to China. Recall the EP-3 that China forced down and seized (not a UAV but it illustrates the principle)? Again, a couple of Tomahawks would have destroyed the aircraft, etc. Again, not war. If China is going to seize our aircraft they have to expect some retaliation. Blowing up our own property seems quite reasonable and proportional.

      Where did you get war from????

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    7. You aren't launching cruise missiles at Chinese airbases without a high risk of a retaliatory strike at US or allied bases or naval assets. You can do that to Syria not China.

      That sort of thing can escalate quickly and all for what exactly?

      The point of exercising power is to gain something substantial for the American national interest. Getting into an exchange of fire at the enemies time and choosing is not wise.

      The US already has a 'defacto' policy of sending recon drones into the airspace of other nations but isn't required by stated policy act on an attack of those assets.

      That retains maximum flexibility at minimum cost.

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    8. "That sort of thing can escalate quickly and all for what exactly?"

      Does your question apply to the Chinese as well as the U.S.?

      When the Chinese seize an EP-3 aircraft or a UUV, should they not expect retaliation?

      Let's turn it around. If we seized a Chinese aircraft would you tell the Chinese not to do anything because the situation might escalate? Do you think the Chinese would listen to you or do you think they'd retaliate and damn the consequences?

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    9. CNO, I think you are spot on with the Ep-3 force down years ago. As for the drone in Iran...I suspect(no one on the internet really knows) that Iran, "taking control" of the drone was like them being the, "first on the moon". Sadly, I suspect the drone was programmed not to crash but to land when it a)it looses contact with ground control it goes into a pattern and b) it is running out of fuel it lands itself.
      Obviously I can't prove that. Having spoken to folks from Ft Huachuca I know the drones will go into a flight pattern much as civilian drone with hover when loosing contact. But it does pose an interesting question. Should we bomb another country to protect our secrets that we landed on their soil?
      I don't consider the EP-3 the same because their plane ran into our plane, causing us to land there. I'm also with you about that. The pilots should have ditched the plane in the ocean. Total court martial for the pilot and copilot.

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    10. "You aren't launching cruise missiles at Chinese airbases without a high risk of a retaliatory strike at US or allied bases or naval assets."

      This is pure fear and appeasement.

      If the Chinese seize a UAV/UUV of ours, they've already committed an illegal act. They have to expect retaliation. Don't they have some responsibility to avoid escalation or is that only our responsibility?

      This kind of fear is reprehensible. It lead directly to WWII and it's leading us, now, to war with China. We need to deal forcefully with China instead of being so scared that we issue an official apology when they force down and seize our aircraft. Is that amazing? They force down and seize our aircraft and we apologize. Talk about emboldening your enemy. No wonder they don't care about our strongly worded protests or Freedom of Navigation exercises. We've proven with our appeasement and fear that we won't take any action no matter how illegally they act. Our appeasement is leading the world to war with China.

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  5. The second thing that I though of when reading your post was the George Jetson idea that we were going to send the Sea Hunter USV to trail subs thousands of miles from shore. Really? In a gray war(which is what we will always be in with nuclear powers) they are going to be sunk or taken.
    I think something like the Sea Hunter could revolutionize the Navy. But not floating around by itself.
    A series of USV/UUV's has the potential to turn smaller vessels into mini flotillas. But, as you say, it won't work if we don't have a plan to protect them during the current long and gray war. I understand that the navy is just learning to use the USV/UUV's but it seems that they lack common sense at this early stage. I hope they wise up...

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    1. That Sea Hunter concept is an idiotic one. It fails the basic logic test. If our very best Burke ASW and helo ASW assets, with high powered sonars, towed arrays, dipping sonars, and highly trained crew can't reliably find and hold contact on a sub, as evidenced by every ASW exercise ever conducted, do we really think that a small, unmanned drone boat with a small, low powered sonar of some sort is going to be able to find and trail a sub? That's ridiculous.

      If Sea Hunter has a small, low power sonar that's that good then we should be frantically retrofitting it to every ship in the fleet - and we're not. The logic is inescapable - the Sea Hunter is a lot of hype and very little performance. It's worthwhile as a DARPA experiment but nothing else.

      Think about it logically!

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    2. You would be incorrect sir. Understanding how ASW works(in peace time and war time) and it's limitation will explain why people on the Perry's called themselves war time targets. Now I don't need the Perry's as torpedo targets. If the Navy has any sense they will use a stand off; something like a Sea Hunter. The Perry's were the Manned Sea Hunter.
      Short/simplified version, size quickly limits range of transmit on the sonar(has since the 50's). Even the largest is tactical. But it doesn't limit the receive function, that's gotten much better. So with current computing we can now use small sonar on a platform and a receiver on another to fix the target. That's fantastic, except for the transmitter. Sucks to be them.
      As to how we miss subs now? Because we are just avoiding them. They just show up when they know we are going to be at X location. Information warfare, not actual ability during wartime.

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    3. Do you have any idea what size/power sonar is on the Sea Hunter? I don't. I haven't seen any information about that. Simply looking at the size of the hull, it has to be quite a bit physically smaller and lower power than even the old Perry SQS-56 which was deemed marginal, at best. No amount of computing power can compensate for the limited power.

      You seem to be referring to bi/multi-static sonar detection. The Navy has been working on that for some time but has not yet been able to make it work. For the moment, it's good old fashioned, single sonars.

      Again, logically, if the Sea Hunter sonar was anywhere near as good as you suggest, the Navy would be building new Burkes and Zumwalts with it and they're not.

      You sir, are incorrect.

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    4. The Navy doesn't seem terribly excited about the Sea Hunter as an ASW vessel as they are redirecting developmental efforts to surveillance, cargo, and even mine hunting. If the ASW aspect were the success you suggest, they'd be going full tilt with the ASW development.

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    5. You do know that the sea hunter is a concept usv? They can and probably should make it smaller or larger depending on what they want it to do.

      You do know that long range asw search is done via passive array not sonar? You are aware that the navy is moving to a dual freq sonar that is for mine/swimmer hunting mainly?

      I have no idea what the navy is going to do with any ship they have. I suspect neither do you? Hell, I suspect they don't know. Be that as it may, they can do it. It's not that hard. If they can team sea hunter with a manned ship, then they can team an unmanned larger usv. How about your asw corvette down sized because they don't need any tonnage but towed array and small sonar?

      If they do it and send the damn thing to the middle of nowhere alone. Well I suspect they will go missing. At that point they will be functionally useless, no matter what they use it for. Manned/unmanned teaming is the way to go with unmanned. Force multiplier.

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    6. Do you have any evidence, whatsoever, that this Sea Hunter is even remotely capable? As far as I know, there has been no performance data published for it. Unless you have some data, you're just speculating and I've laid out the logical case that suggests that the vessel has no significant ASW capability.

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    7. To give you a better perspective of what I'm talking about, the navy's best sonar is a usv/uuv(depending on how you classify it) and has been used for years. It's called.... a sonobuoy. You can easily pick it up in your hands. A great way to find a sub with little risk. Or more to the point, to drive the sub away and deep. The best way to not lose a fight is to avoid it. That's modern day asw.
      I think your concept of a asw corvette it fantastic. But with the use of a remote sensor (usv)containing both passive and active the ability and survival of that corvette goes way up in wartime. In peace time? Who cares for now. Some day torpedoes can/will proliferate to the same degree as mines and missiles. Then every ship will work asw to the same degree as they need short range aaw now. If we develop the usv for teaming now. We can do more with smaller ships during peace time and can survive more during wartime/asw gray wars that might come in the future.

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    8. The Sea Hunter USV is a concept experiment. They are making a second one. If they like it for some mission they, if they're smart, will use the second one as a prototype for what they want it for. That way we can keep the experiments in the millions, not billions.
      Concepts by their very nature are experiments. They are not fit to do a darn thing but experiment a concept. I think my idea has a lot of merit. I hope not to see my idea on a Sea Hunter next year. It's gonna take a while to make unmanned anything work properly. That last point I think you might agree with. USN losing a UUV off the coast of Florida or San Diego is an experiment. Losing it off the coast of Yemen or the SCS due to immature design/TTP is unacceptable.

      Now what kind of proof that the concept can work? Well they have driven the darn thing around at speeds and distances that would work during real deployments. What they need to mature. Control in EW environment including AI. They will need to increase the sea state level of any usv to equal the manned teamed ship. They will need to work out the maintenance from the manned to the unmanned. Plus a bunch more stuff. Teaming is a ways off when it comes to vehicles and ships. Aircraft are a bit more mature in terms of teaming. Hell college kids do it all the time with their drones.

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    9. "the navy's best sonar is .... a sonobuoy."

      You're being ridiculous! I think you need to research the detection range and ability of a sonobuoy. If that's the limit of the Sea Hunter capability then it's an incredible waste of resources and effort, even more so than I currently believe!

      A sonobuoy is akin to tracking someone down in a large city using various methods and then, at the end, when you believe you've found them, you shine a flashlight (the sonobuoy in this analogy) in their face just to confirm their identity. The flashlight/sonobuoy is cued to the location by other resources and capabilities. It has no great capability on its own, barring pure dumb luck. You need to study up on the ASW process.

      Sea Hunter appears to have near-zero ability to find a sub on its own. If some other ship/aircraft gives it a sub's location it might be able to track it briefly but if another asset already knows where the sub is, then the Sea Hunter is not needed.

      Sea Hunter is an idiotic idea and the Navy's apparent lack of interest is testament to that. I repeat, if Sea Hunter, with its baby sonar, is capable of finding subs then we're wasting a LOT of money on large, complicated ASW gear and platforms!

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    10. I think we're talking past each other now. If you read my first post about this I agreed with you that the idea of sending sea hunter to follow subs wasn't going to work. I went on to say that my idea IMO was a better way to use a usv such as the Sea Hunter. It has a lot of merit to expand the ability of any ship. If used tactically it can make that ship much more survivable in war time.

      Today, the navy isn't pinging away with big sonar to find subs. The only reason to ping it is to drive the sub's movements/actions from far away. They are finding them with passive. Then when they find them they track them. Obviously in war time they would fix them and use torpedoes to destroy them.

      Even with the biggest sonar when they are within detection range, then they are well within torpedo range of what they've found. Now it becomes a, "Fair" fight. It's a quick draw to see who has the quickest kill chain. That's not bad if you're in a sub on someone's six. Not so good in a ship being found by an enemy sub.

      Passive is a different story. So you are insisting on a, "Big" platform to require a "Big" active sonar. That's simply not how the navy uses sonar. Hence my point about sonobuoy's. They are low power. Same with helo asw. Low powered. So they are not useless. So having a lower powered sonar isn't something that should hurt a sailors ego or drive the size of a ship (manned or unmanned). That sonar is a secondary consideration. More and more that consideration is mines and swimmers. It's about how it's used. And in the case of asw, not used.

      Perry's liked to call themselves missile sponges. It rolls off the tongue better than torpedo sponge. But in a war, it was going to be a torpedo sponge. That was it's main job and the sailors knew it. That's why they didn't put a monster sonar on the Perry. It's sonar was to be used right at the end in a knockdown drag out fight. It was/is the frigates job to take the sub out while it's taking torpedoes.

      Today, survival is all about passive asw. Then your flashlight analogy. Right now that flashlight is a helo and/or sonobuoy. With out those helos on our ships we would have to go back in time to how we did asw in WWII. In modern doctrine, if everything goes right in the asw fight a ships sonar will not be used. If it is, oops hopefully that Nixie works because we just unzipped our fly and hung it out to the enemy to chop off. Think: "last ditch effort. War of attrition. Might as well take them down with us." Call it what you will. But it is not, the way we want to fight. It's what we do when we're about to get hit with a torpedo.

      Again MCM is a different story. The range of a sonar is enough to keep one from hitting it. But a different frequency usually. But sometimes they still hit the darn things. Hence trying to put mine hunting on a remote sensor.

      ASW...let the remote sensor be the Missile/torpedo sponge, not the frigate. In MCM....let the remote sensor take the risk not the minesweeper. It's the future whether we like it or not.

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    11. The larger Burke-type sonar (SQS-53C) has both active and passive modes. The SQS-53C(V)1 has a listed max range of 74 km. Sea Hunter is probably somewhere between a smaller Perry-type sonar which was considered only marginally effective and a sonobuoy which is only a spot detector.

      Sea Hunter would be nearly useless in ASW due to the combination of low speed (relative to a helo) and very short detection range. The low speed precludes rapid repositioning and the very short detection range requires frequent and rapid repositioning.

      A fleet of several dozen might be effective but that's totally impractical.

      While a Sea Hunter might be able to function to a degree as a poor substitute for a ship's helo, the vessel gives up the one major benefit of the helo which is that the sub can't touch it (notwithstanding reports of some subs having a limited anti-air capability). Sea Hunter would be an easy kill for a sub.

      I see no beneficial pairing of such a vessel with manned ships for ASW. MCM is another issue.

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  6. The procedure of Innocent Passage (as defined in UNCLOS) for submarines means navigating on the surface. I assume that the same applies for drones.

    For warships Innocent Passage means not even flying helicopters.

    If you want to get some intelligence sailing in territorial waters of another country you are taking risks. Among them are efforts for destroying, damaging or seizing the intel platform. You shouldn’t be very surprised if that platform is actually captured or damaged if she is not operating under UNCLOS rules, but you should have a contingency plan for such a case.

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    1. What would you suggest for a contingency plan?

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  7. Just making something a law means nothing. Laws don't work because of paper. They work because people Believe they work. Often because those laws are backed up by big men with big guns.

    If you aren't willing to use those big guns it means that that law is useless. Worse actually because it then makes people wonder what other laws of yours are worthless.

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    1. You have hit on a fundamental truth. Now what, specifically, are you applying it to? What law are you referring to?

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    2. Law of the sea. Basically we can say "thats ours don't touch!" but if we can't make the demand stick well maybe its time to rethink the way we use them and deploy them.

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  8. "What would you suggest for a contingency plan?"

    For drones:

    First of all, you shouldn’t use a commercial off the shelf drone in hostile waters. The South China Sea is hostile waters! Also off Yemen or around any warzone is that too.

    In hostile waters you should use drones which with a self-destruction device. Such a device should destroy the drone anytime it assumes that the drone have been captured, i.e., if the drone departs her planned route or when the drone is not recovered in a certain time window.

    In the actual situation, I think it is a matter of national pride. The minute the drone was missed, a search and destroy effort should have been mounted, using any available asset: tactical aircraft, sigint/elint aircraft, sattelites, etc. I doesn’t matter how expensive that effort could be, but the point is that a guerrilla group can’t obtain a tactical victory against the US Navy.

    For Intel aircraft, such as EP-3:

    Simply, the aircraft can’t be seized by anybody. The aircraft should crash before being seized by a hostile power. You should attempt to save the crew, providing them with parachutes, for example. But if that is not possible or not workable, than – sadly – the crew should go down with the plane. We are talking about the military and about sensible matters. So you should take hard decisions: you take a risk (with all what that means) or you stay better at home and look for a job in the civilian world.

    For Intel vessels, such “Pueblo” or “Liberty”:

    Such vessels need defensive weapons and, if nothing else is possible, than they should sink before being captured.

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    1. The U.S. Military Code of Conduct states that a service member will never surrender of their own free will. This addresses your suggestion about the EP-3. The crew violated the Code of Conduct and should have been court-martialed.

      Without realizing it (and, to be fair, perhaps you don't mean this) you've extended the Code of Conduct to inanimate objects (UAVs, UUVs). They will never be surrendered.

      Interesting.

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  9. The chinese are known to recover american torpedoes in their waters , probably malfuctionion unit recovered by fishermen in the region.. same with UUV in territorial waters , whats the internatinal law on this ? salvage law take precedence ?

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    1. I am unaware of any Chinese recovery of a U.S. torpedo or UUV in territorial waters. Do you have a reference for this?

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