The Strategic Shift: Recovering and Building Out ASW Skill Sets


As the land wars dominated the past 15 years, a number of key skill sets atrophied or certainly were drawn down.

A core one was clearly anti-submarine warfare skill sets.

As the defense of Northern Europe returns as a direct challenge to core NATO nations, recovering and building maritime domain awareness capabilities and the skill sets to prosecute threats is being highlighted as a key task in dealing with the new threat environment.

Currently, NATO is engaged in Dynamic Mongoose 2018 which is the second annual NATO-led maritime Anti-Submarine Warfare interoperability exercise and Norway is the host nation.

After Dynamic Manta, conducted in the Mediterranean, Mongoose is conducted off the coast of Norway and is scheduled for June 25 to July 6, 2018.

Naval forces from Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States are participating in the NATO Allied Maritime Command-led exercise Dynamic Mongoose 2018.

According to NATO, the drill will be joined by two submarines, 7 surface warships and three maritime patrol aircraft. Dutch Navy frigate HNLMS Van Speijk, Spanish frigate ESPS Álvaro de Bazán and US destroyer USS Bainbridge are among the known participating units.

“This valuable training opportunity will allow us, in conjunction with our NATO allies and partners, to enhance our ASW capabilities, improve interoperability and ultimately strengthen the alliances that bind our nations together in mutual commitment to regional security,” said Cmdr. Chad R, Donnelly, commanding officer of Patrol Squadron (VP) 10, a US Navy maritime patrol squadron participating in the exercise.

The aim of this exercise is to provide all participants with complex and challenging warfare training to enhance their interoperability and proficiency in anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare skills.

Recently, Adm. James Foggo, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa, highlighted the growing challenge which the presence and growth of the Russian submarine force posed to the US and its allies.

According to comments cited by Stars and Stripes:

Foggo said he’s impressed with the missile-launching ability of Russian submarines, such as the Kilo-class boats deployed to the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. These diesel-electric submarines carry as many as 18 torpedoes and eight surface-to-air missiles.

Some Russian submarine missiles have the range to reach any European capital, Foggo said.

So I think it’s important for us to have the situational awareness of where those platforms are operating at all times,” Foggo said. “We have seen the caliber of missile launches from their platforms into targets in Syria. (It) is a very capable weapon system.”