Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Swarming Tactics: Some views on fighting the "swarm"

Some older thoughts on resisting the sort of "swarm attack" being threatened by Iran in the Persian Gulf from the Canadian Naval Review: "Swarming Tactics". First, from Ken Hansen, referring to the incident in which several British sailors were captured by Iran -
USV Protector
Ships that are employed in these inshore waters should be small and manoeuvrable (and expendable, if need be), armed with close-range weapons capable of generating devastating stopping power in all four quadrants, and equipped with at least a couple of types of boats. One of these should be a remotely-controlled and armed robotic vehicle, akin to the Protector (built by BAE, Lockheed Martin, and Rafael), or an unmanned but unarmed vehicle of which there are now several types available. Air support should come from a 'mother ship' that will have to stand off in order to avoid unnecessary risk (and embarrassment).

The age of robotics is upon us. If Canadian naval vessels are to be deployed into coastal areas plagued by instability, the threats they will face will look a lot like those in the northern Arabian Gulf. The 'answers' about how to deal with these threats should provoke significant changes in force structure, operating concepts and equipment.
Armed H-60 (hey, look -Marine Mavericks!)
Another thought from Eric Lerhe:
Helicopters provide a way of giving transiting warships maximum warning against small boat forays.
Of course,as I have said before, I prefer standoff, massive firepower in layered defenses including something like:

And, you know, carrier air, ship weapons and the use of UAVs to track the swarm.

Forewarned is forearmed.

Real armaments are good too.

One advantage of not using one way suicide weapons is that you can reload and shoot again and again.


  1. Gary Stringer6:30 AM

    I agree with the points made by Ken Hansen when he says that boats used in these waters should be expendable as there is no point in risking your most useful vessels! Also using unarmed boats is beneficial as it reduces the risk of casualties

  2. Air support is absolutely essential in these situations ... the ability to react at a hundred knots or more makes a huge difference in the initial engagement range.

  3. Seems like an ideal use of CBU, don't know how many we have left in the system, though. The IR guided versions that home in on engine heat would be perfect, plenty of thermal contrast with the surrounding water, even though the surface water gets plenty warm.

  4. Directional EMP solves any number of problems.