The successful prosecution of Anti-Submarine Warfare in the modern sense is very much a team effort, requiring a multi-layered capability of high end platforms along with close cooperation between the players.
According to the recent Defence White Paper, half the world’s submarines will be operating in the Indo-Pacific region over the next two decades, so the art of ASW is becoming increasingly important. Fortunately, the Australian Defence Force is very well-placed to meet these future challenges, with new capabilities either entering service or on the drawing board.
From a naval perspective, the new Hobart-class DDG is arguably the most capable ASW surface ship Australia has ever owned – despite having air defence as its primary role – and over the next two decades the ASW-optimised Future Frigate and the Future Submarine will also enter service.
From an air platform point of view, Navy has recently received the final delivery of 24 Lockheed Martin/Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk ‘Romeo’ naval combat helicopters, and the RAAF now has the first four of what could be an eventual total of 15 Boeing P-8A Poseidon multi-mission maritime aircraft in service, with other platforms to come in the future.
Twelve P-8As are being acquired by the RAAF under Project Air 7000 Phase 2B, with the fourth aircraft delivered in August. A fifth will arrive towards the end of 2017, and the option of an additional three Poseidons was heralded in the 2016 White Paper.