The top tweeted terms are the trending industry discussions happening on Twitter by key individuals (influencers) as tracked by the platform.

1. Submarine – 1,617 mentions

The deployment of a French submarine in the West Pacific, Norway reopening a submarine base to support the US and US Navy’s cruise missile submarine spotted in the Indian Ocean, were some popular topics discussed during Q4 2020. According to an article shared by the US Navy, the official account of the US Navy, the deployment of the French nuclear-powered submarine (SSN), FS Emeraude, in the Western Pacific, presented a rare training opportunity for the US Navy’s USS Asheville, a Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine.

Emeraude and the Loire-class support and assistance vessel (BSAM type) FS Seine are on a scheduled deployment to the Western Pacific. Asheville and Émeraudeused the opportunity to acquire high-end maritime skills over a few days in different disciplines. These exercises are specifically developed to improve battle skills and to build strong partnerships to protect against transnational health and political crises, the article highlighted.

Chris Cavas, a naval warfare journalist, further shared an article about Norway reopening its underground submarine base located at Olavsvern near Tromso to facilitate its use by the US submarines, including Seawolf-class subs. The reopening of cold war-era nuclear submarine base will allow the US to demonstrate its presence and prevent Russia from taking control over the Arctic Ocean.

Submarines also trended in discussions shared by H I Sutton, a defence and aerospace reporter, about the USS Georgian, an Ohio Class cruise missile submarine (SSGN), a US Navy submarine being spotted at Diego Garcia, a small atoll in the Indian Ocean. The atoll, which is more than 1,100 miles south of the tip of India, it is a potential staging post for forward operations, and is utilised by the US Navy and Air Force.

2. Frigate – 568 mentions

The UK Navy’s frigate entering the Arctic Circle, Royal Navy’s frigate project progress on track and the christening of a US Navy frigate, were some widely discussed topics in Q4. Royal Navy, the official account of UK’s Royal Navy, shared an article about HMS Lancaster, Royal Navy’s Type 23 Frigate, completing 72 hours of operations in the High North region in the Arctic Circle. This is the second time the Royal Navy has sailed into the Arctic Circle in two months.

The entry of the Royal Navy’s warship into the Arctic demonstrates its commitment to the region, after leading the multi-national task group into the region in September last year. The High North operation sought to achieve invaluable experience of the warship being able to operate in extreme icy conditions and enhanced the UK’s cold weather capability.

Navy Lookout, an independent news provider on the UK’s Royal Navy, further shared an article about the Royal Navy’s Type 31 frigate project being on schedule for completion despite interruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The contract for construction of the frigate was awarded to Babock Marine and the design phase is expected to finish in 2021. The first frigate will be delivered to the Royal Navy in 2025, and will be fully in-service by 2027.

Another discussion related to frigate was shared by Naval News, a naval forces and industry news provider, about the US Secretary of the Navy announcing the name of the first ship in the new Guided Missile Frigate (FFG(X)) class of ships as the USS Constellation (FFG 62), in honour of the maiden navy ships authorised by the US Congress in 1794. The Constellation Class frigates will enable fleet commanders to exercise multiple options, thereby helping in supporting the national defence strategy across military operations.

3. Missile – 391 mentions

India having completed testing its anti-submarine missile, the US Navy’s stealth ship conducting its first missile test, and a US Navy aircraft with anti-ship missiles flying mission, were some topics discussed in the last quarter of 2020. According to an article shared by Tyler Rogoway, editor at The War Zone, a website providing information on defence, India’s defence research and development organisation (DRDO) conducted its first long range supersonic anti-submarine missile, off the coast of the Bay of Bengal.

The missile is capable of releasing a torpedo on reaching the target area within a range of 400 miles from the launch point, following which it utilises its own guidance system to identify the enemy submarine. Named the Supersonic Missile Assisted Release of Torpedo (SMART), it could provide Indian warships a supplementary stand-off tool in the light of looming submarine threats from countries such as China, the article highlighted.

Further, Military Times, a military news and information provider, shared an article about Zumwalt, the US Navy’s first stealth destroyer test-firing a SM-2 missile from its MK 57 vertical launching system (VLS). The testing was performed at the Naval Air Weapons Centre Weapons Division Sea Test Range, adjacent to Point Mugu in California. The stealth ship was added to the fleet after four years since it was commissioned without a fully installed combat system.

Other discussions surrounding missile included the US Navy maritime patrol aircraft P-8A Poseidon completing a flying mission equipped with AGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missiles, according to an article shared by The War Zone. The aircraft flew from the Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, a Japanese island and near Taiwan, over tense waters that is currently seen the presence of the Chinese Navy.

4. Maritime Security – 254 mentions

The US Navy’s expeditionary mobile base conducting manoeuvring exercise, the North American Treaty Organisation (NATO) exercise meant to enhance maritime security, and the US and Senegal naval leaders building maritime security relations, were some broadly discussed topics in Q4. U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, the official account of US Naval Forces Europe-Africa, shared an article about USS Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams, the US Navy’s expeditionary mobile base performing a manoeuvring exercise in collaboration with the Nigerian Navy in the Gulf of Guinea.

The exercise was conducted by the US and Nigeria’s naval units to boost partner capacity and make use of the Nigerian Navy’s ability to intercept ships within the African nation’s economic exclusion zone (EEZ).

NATO Maritime Command, the official account of NATO Maritime Command, further, shared an article about NATO completing a two-week exercise, Dynamic Mariner, off the French coast. One submarine, three maritime patrol aircraft and 31 surface ships, along with personnel from France, Greece, Italy and US, among other nations, participated in the exercise.

Maritime Security was also discussed in an article shared by US AFRICOM, the official account of the US Africa Command, about the US Marine Corps Europe and Africa’s commander meeting with Senegal Navy head to discuss plans to establish the Naval Infantry Leaders Symposium-Africa. The symposium is an Africa-focused multinational forum which brings partner nations to build interoperability and promote relations that will enhance the region’s maritime domain security.

5. Fleet – 166 mentions

The US Navy adding unmanned aerial system to its fleet, the American and El Salvadoran navies performing a passing exercise, and guided missile destroyer completing the deployment in the US 5th Fleet area of operations (AOO), were popularly discussed in Q4. According to an article shared by SeapowerMag, the official publication of Navy League, a non-profit which enlightens citizenry about US’ sea power, the US Navy deployed a submarine-launched unmanned aerial system (SLUAS) to its fleet.

The deployment and demonstration of SLUAS were for beyond line-of-sight targeting solutions and its initial operational capability was realised in September 2020. Eight months after the project was created, the Navy performed an at-sea demonstration of the SLUAS from the Log Angeles-class SSN USS Annapolis.

Further, Chris Cavas, shared an article about the US Navy’s Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10) performing a passing exercise (PASSEX) in collaboration with El Salvador Navy in the East Pacific Ocean. USS Gabrielle Giffords is employed by the US 4th Fleet AOO to help Joint Interagency Task Force South’s mission, which aims to combat illicit drug trafficking in the East Pacific and Caribbean regions.

Another discussion surrounding fleet was shared by National Interest, US’ leading international affairs magazine on national security and foreign policy, about the USS Stout (DDG-55), a US Navy guided missile destroyer, completing 210 days of deployment in the US 5th Fleet AOO. The naval ship set a new record for the longest time at sea after it spent seven months in the AOO, which includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea and some parts of Indian Ocean.