Submarines are one of the most fascinating modern warfare vessels in the water. These huge machines equipped with highly advanced systems can surprise the enemy anytime. A submarine hides itself deep under the water and can remain anonymous for months. It is extremely difficult for the enemy to locate its exact position under water.
While other naval warships are meant to be shown to the entire world to display the strength, submarines are kept hidden most of the time. A submarine perform its operations under water secretly. It possesses an invisible, silent force that could reach anywhere anytime. An enemy can never be sure about its location and therefore has to be on alert every moment.
Types Of Submarines Used In The Combat
- Attack Submarines– These are generally small submarines designed for specific tasks, which include attack on enemy in combat. It uses torpedoes and other small range missiles. These submarines have limited range and need to come out of the water after some time.
- Ballistic Missile Submarines– These submarines are bigger in size and are more destructive for the enemy. A ballistic missile submarine is used as a launch platform for ballistic or long-range missiles. These can carry nuclear warheads. These submarines are nuclear powered submarines. As a result, have almost unlimited range because of availability of unlimited power supply. These can remain under water for months and can travel up to thousand miles.
Stealth: Most Important Feature Of Submarines
For a submarine, the most important stealth characteristic feature is the blanket of water. The deeper under the ocean a submarine can travel, more it will be difficult to track it down. If it comes on the surface, all of its stealth will be lost. As a result, it is no longer undetectable.
Nuclear powered submarines are the best suitable for this job. They can remain under the water surface for months without being detected. These submarines need to come above the surface only at the time of crew change or any maintenance. But how does a submarine succeed in this extremely difficult operation? How do the sailors communicate with other ground staff and members?
Communicating Secretly Under The Water
Unlike other ships where the phones, mail deliveries and even internet is available, submarine has nothing. The world is limited on a submarine. The sailors cannot contact their family members frequently and without permission. Any received mail is passed through the person in charge. If he feels suitable, only then the message is passed to the sailor keeping the importance of mission in mind.
To contact from other vessels or naval members, communication is done through the radio waves. Not all radio waves can pass through the water. Therefore, very low frequency (VLF) radio forms are used for the communications as low frequency waves are able to penetrate the surface of water. The VLF signals are send and then received by the submarine deep inside the ocean.
Disadvantages In VLF Frequencies
However, VLF technology has some disadvantages. VLF possesses low bandwidth. It cannot even transmit real time audio signals. Submarines also typically cannot respond with VLF frequencies since they do not have large enough transmitters. As a result, they have to raise to shallow depths so that they can have antennas sticking out of the water to respond.
Other problems that are faced by submarines are problems in navigation. Both GPS and radar do not work under water. Therefore, submarines have to use sonar technique to navigate. But, using sonar makes it detectable for the enemies. Hence, when in stealth mode, submarines use inertial navigation system. These systems contain accelerometers and gyroscopes that take the last known accurate GPS position of submarine and then tracks its movements. However, this system is not highly efficient.
As submarines are becoming better and technology is improving, there will be a time when they will be almost undetectable under water. But every coin has two sides. Radar and sonar systems are also improving which are used to track the submarines. It will be great battle to see who wins in the future.