Several US Navy officials recently claimed that their nuclear-powered submarine force will soon be equipped with unmanned undersea vehicles (UUVs) that can be launched and recovered via torpedo tubes, according to media reports. This new type of equipment will turn US attack nuclear submarines into "UUV carriers".
Military observer Zhou Weizheng pointed out that although the combination of nuclear submarine and UUV can perform a variety of combat missions, there is a problem of "difficulty in recovering" in real life. In addition, the US is still facing several technical bottlenecks in the development of UUV, making it difficult to apply in a large scale in the short term.
Unmanned equipment is an important development direction of weapons and equipment nowadays, and the development of UUV is relatively difficult. Zhou believed that although the US has announced the breakthrough, there is still a long way to go before the actual application. The underwater environment is extremely complex. Various factors will not only affect and interfere with the recovery of UUV but may also pose a threat to the safety of nuclear submarines.
Some reports said that the new equipment will first be deployed in the US Navy's Pacific Fleet. In this regard, Zhou pointed out that it is not a smart move for the US military to deploy such immature equipment systems overseas. The deployment will threaten the safety of navigation in the relevant waters and escalate the arms races in the relevant areas.
Zhou believed that compared with the confrontation between ships and aircraft, the underwater confrontation of submarines is more intense, dangerous, and uncontrollable. In the underwater environment, the equipment, actions, and intentions of the other side are elusive, which can easily lead to misjudgments and unpredictable conflicts. The deployment of immature UUV by the US Navy to the Pacific Fleet and the Asia-Pacific region will threaten the military security of other relevant countries and force them to take countermeasures, and it will also lead to security accidents due to unreliable equipment.
Editor's note: Originally published on military.cnr.cn, this article is translated from Chinese into English and edited by the China Military Online. The information and opinions in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of eng.chinamil.com.cn.