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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Airborne Anti-Submarine Warfare: Smaller might be the right fit for some countries and missions

Photo: Hawker Beechcraft
What if your neighborhood submarine threat is very local and does not consist of big hulking ballistic missile subs or other large subsurface craft? Well, then, you might hop on to this-  Beechcraft sees opportunity in anti-submarine King Airs:
Beechcraft Corp. is interested in possibly adding anti-submarine warfare to the list of special-mission capabilities of its King Air 350.

According to a report from Defense News, the Wichita company has already been approached by several systems integrators about using the King Air as a platform aircraft for such missions.

There is interest in the type of anti-submarine warfare capability such an aircraft could provide as the use of smaller submarines — such as those of Iran — is increasing.
The Defense News article also mentions the use of such aircraft in locating "drug subs" . .. .
Boeing Image
Mini-submarine numbers are on the rise. United Arab Emirates Navy chief Rear Adm. Ibrahim al Musharrakh recently told the Gulf Naval Commanders Conference that Iranian midget submarines are an imminent threat they were looking to counter.
Drug smugglers are also known to use mini-subs to transport narcotics in places like Latin America.
 I'm guessing an ASW King Air would be  less expensive (and admittedly, also would be less capable) than a P-8 Poseidon. On the other hand, they mostly would serve differing missions, wouldn't they?

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous7:50 AM

    Strikes me as a good idea, I believe the Irish are using modified Skyvans in this role. This is of particular interest to countries that don't have the need to protect transoceanic routes, as we do, or have a small coastline.

    Historically we've used a mix of short, medium and long range aircraft for ASW. WWII saw a mix of blimps and observation aircraft, such as the SOC and Kingfisher, employed in coastal ASW, while medium and long ranged bombers worked farther out. It was a good combination in the Battle of the Atlantic, once the pieces were all in place.

    One might note that we employed a mix of P-3 and S-3, until recently, while still using rotary wing, extensively.

    I saw a concept at a Navy League convention, a couple of years ago, that had V-22 replacing the S-3 in carrier ASW. Probably worth pursuing, since material support for the V-22 already exists and, in addition to providing mid-range ASW to the CVBG, it would add another dimension to the amphibs, which are about the same size as the Essex class CVS were.