The US Congress and several strategic analysts are caught in a dilemma between investing in innovative technologies for conducting military operations while limiting conventional manning technologies and investing in existing manned technologies.
To specify the dilemma, the two sides of the dilemma include:
- Investing in weapons that integrate their sensors along with a very strong charge on a high-speed platform.
- The disengagement of the sensors from the charges and the degradation of the value of the high speed for the boredom of an enemy target.
This very second side of the dilemma is called Mosaic Warfare, which involves the fragmentation of a main weapon, e.g., a missile in its smallest building blocks to allow rearrangement into many types of battle formations as well as the extensive use of artificial intelligence to make relevant decisions from each building block.
The idea of Mosaic Warfare and as highlighted by Dr Thomas J. Burns, the former director of DARPA’s Strategic Technology Office, will be to send so many weapons and senior platforms at the enemy that its forces are overwhelmed. The goal is to take the complexity and to turn that into an asymmetric advantage.
Based on the rules governing Mosaic Warfare, the sensor is separated from the charge and these components are placed on separate platforms. The platform with the sensor then returns to its base or assists in parallel missions.
In this way the degree of lethality of the weapon is divided into many parts, that is, where two anti-ship missiles were needed to neutralize a frigate, now for the same point of impact more Mosaic Warfare charge elements will be needed.
On the other hand, the fragmentation of the lethality into smaller and more flexible elements also means the possibility of attacking the extremely vulnerable parts of the ship, such as the bridge and the propellers.
The use of smaller units reduces the economic value of the attacker to the economic value of the defender so it will be quite attractive to the attacker. In detail, in order to achieve a lower value for the drone swarm, the following conditions must be met:
|Coherence of the aggressive swarm of drones||The ability to maintain functionality with the loss of friendly drone swarm units|
|Maintaining functionality||The ability to maintain functionality in different sizes of the drone swarm|
|Adaptability in each Battlefield/Naval Battlefield||The ability to manage multiple environments, sensors, roles, and battlefields|
In general, drone swarms should be able to perform D4-Diverse, Distributed, Decentralization, Dynamic action tasks.
The field of research that analysts are concerned with is the new ways provided by technology to attribute victory on the battlefield.
Naval Surface Unit
Suppose we have a surface unit (e.g., frigate, destroyer, cruiser etc.) and this surface unit e.g., frigate is equipped with sonar, radar and area and point defense elements respectively (anti-aircraft missiles using electromagnetic radar along with electromagnetic eye sensors, Rolling Airframe Missile missiles, CIWS systems, anti-ship missiles, large missiles, and naval artillery).
The main purpose, among others, is to provide the possibility for the continuous control of the aerial, marine & submarine space.
Nowadays the protection of a frigate should be extended with the use of unmanned systems as well as with the support of aviation. Unmanned systems could also be used as offensive weapons.
The political decision to use conventional surface ships for maritime operations was based on the view that a conventional naval or air battle would be a focal point in a future confrontation at sea or in coastal areas.
The other view is the downgrading of the role and the reduction of the number of conventional surface warships, the upgrading of manned and unmanned submarine forces and the possible use, inter alia, of merchant navy ships, or unarmed naval surface units-drone platforms. carriers for the take-off of unmanned offensive air, naval and submarine systems as part of the Naval Mosaic Warfare.
Of course, the US Navy Air Force will play a major role in defending large sea areas.
Based on this view, surface units such as e.g., frigates are very expensive moving targets exposed to a one-dimensional battlefield (sea surface), manned by personnel (100 to 300) who could easily become targets of unmanned platforms operating in both one-dimensional and three-dimensional (aerial, sea surface, submarine) battlefields.
At the same time, this view reflects the economy achieved at the cost of war. In other words, relatively inexpensive unmanned platforms will be able to deliver critical blows to manifold platforms of multiple value.
In addition, large surface ships will be more valuable targets for the opponent’s missile systems, and since the doctrine of Multi Domain Battle) will use the concepts of Cross Domain Fires, where in this arrangement all types of missiles systems that can hit a multitude of targets on land and at sea will gradually create another reality.
Drone Swarms – Attack Drone to hostile Fleets and the Naval Surface Unit protection issue
On surface ships, a large percentage of their armament is dedicated to creating defense zones around the ship. New threats to such a surface ship are created by swarms of drones, which either fly or hover for the entire duration of the attack horizon or move submarine towards the target for some time and suddenly emerge to continue the attack.
The drones can fly to a certain point and with their detection by the radars they can dive immediately and continue their attack from a different attack vector. In addition, drones can be used that look and feel like living sea creatures.
Surface Unit Protection with unmanned submarines
• Sensor: the drone contains only sonar or VHF / UHF system for instantaneous instruction.
• Decoy: the drone creates sounds like a frigate to distract the enemy.
• Jammer: the drone tries to make more noise than normal to make it difficult for the opponents’ sonar to function.
• Torpedo: the drone contains only an explosive charge and depends on the drone with the sensor for its path to the target.
Unmanned submarines could create a virtual safety net under a surface ship, increasing its survival rate from conventional or technologically advanced hazards. Acoustic technology between them is technologically feasible for distances up to 200 meters, sufficient to protect a surface ship.
- Drones capable of air and submarine movement (the propellers can then be used as propellers) can act against an underwater or surface target.
- In case the UUV has increased stealth characteristics it resembles a living underwater being, where in this case its treatment must be different.
Use friendly UUV
Use of friendly infrastructure for military purposes such as submarine telecommunications and for possible energy renewal in unmanned submarines.
Mining with UUV
UUV mining with much greater accuracy and minimal exposure to hostile observation. Mines are important elements of naval warfare because they have the ability to detect and exploit the ship’s electromagnetic emissions, between a propeller and a rust protection element.
UUV imitating marine life
In this case there is an increased survival rate of the offensive submarine due to the corresponding increase in stealth characteristics. Stealth increases because the offensive weapon resembles a living sea creature that does not visually or audibly point out a danger to the enemy. Acoustic stigma can be achieved by using plastics or other housing specialists.
Scenario of attack of a surface unit by a swarm of drones
Suppose a surface unit (eg a frigate) moves alone and cut off from the rest of the fleet in the territorial waters of another state and near the coastlines of that state. Suddenly it is attacked simultaneously by two enemy fighter jets whish move within enemy air space, each launching four missiles, four UAVs each firing two rockets or missiles, and one UAV flying from above demonstrating a target, fired by two anti-ship firearms from ground launcher plus two Harpy missiles using long-range artillery. A total of twenty air targets are aimed at the naval surface unit.
Cost of the specific weapon systems in approximately:
8x $ 200000 (eight rockets fired from fighter jets)
8x $ 200000 (rockets or rockets fired from the four UAVs)
2x $ 2 million (cost of two anti-ship missiles)
2x $ 1000000 (cost of two Harpy missiles)
Total cost $9200000.
Except for the two anti-ship missiles, the remaining weapons are not expected to sink a surface unit of size e.g., frigate, but can cause serious damage and in a second attack with an anti-ship missile the surface unit can sink.
We conclude that at a total cost of $ 9200000 approximately $10m a large surface unit can be neutralized without exposing the attacking media to danger. Therefore, the existence of long-range missiles is imperative so that the attacking means cannot approach the surface unit.
For this reason, the frigate-sized surface unit must have special equipment, dual radar (e.g., NS-50) and dual systems to survive. Placement e.g., Strales m-110 57mm or 127mm Vulcano Strales at the stern, two millennium, RAM. The RAM can be guided from the ship outside the RF Seeker and IR. At least four anti-aircraft guns. Its protection requires many levels of treatment. Use a cannon with its own radar like that of the South Korean 7×30.
For interference and false signals on the radar only at sea level requires a special technique to target-trap incoming targets and for this reason a second radar is required.
Points of attention set by the doctrine of the Naval Mosaic Warfare
• A key point is that Mosaic Warfare systems should train the right people with training that includes identifying goals and making relevant action decisions. Suitable personnel for these matters are the special forces.
• The implementation of a strategy based on the creation of Anti-Access / Area Denial (A2 / AD) with the development of non-conventional tactics as highly innovative technologies along with the degradation of the conventional surface fleet for the benefit of submarine and air force respectively cause a severe impact on the force-personnel structure and thought/culture respectively of any navy acquisition.
Questions seeking answers from those in charge
1. Can those responsible answer whether unmanned platforms, and those to be used in combat navigation based on the principles of the Naval Mosaic Warfare, will be the main feature of the future naval (or ground or air battlefield respectively) battlefield?
2. The creation of an unmanned fleet is governed by better delivery times of fully operational systems as opposed to the construction of new conventional large surface ships.
- What is the risk that the US Navy will face a growing fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles in the air,
sea, and submarine from China in the future?
- David Larter, Congress slows the US Navy’s roll toward a robot-ship future ( https://www.defensenews.com/naval/2019/12/10/congress-slows-the-us-navys-roll-toward-a-robot-ship-future/ )
- Bryan Clark, Daniel Patt, Harrison Schramm, Mosaic Warfare: Exploiting Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Systems to Implement Decision-Centric Operations https://csbaonline.org/research/publications/mosaic-warfare-exploiting-artificial-intelligence- and-autonomous-systems-to-implement-decision-centric-operations
- Bruce Crumley, It’s not safe (for subs) in the water: China develops military shark drone (https://dronedj.com/2021/07/13/its-not-safe-for-subs-in-the-water-china-develops-military-shark-drone/)
- Chinese military’s Robo-Shark drone to prey on submarines (https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/chinese-militarys-robo-shark-drone-to-prey-on-submarines-t0dg9fx2m)
- Robosea, Roboshark, http://www.robosea.org/sanguanjie.html
- Atul Pant, Mosaic Warfare: Redefining Future Battlefield (https://www.idsa.in/issuebrief/mosaic-warfare-apant-270420)