Submarine leads as Naval Technology lists the top five terms tweeted on naval tech in August 2020, based on data from GlobalData’s Influencer Platform.

1. Submarine – 418 mentions

The challenges posed by narco submarines, Russian submarine emerging in Alaska, and the clearance of debris from sunken submarines, were popularly discussed in the month of August. According to an article shared by US Southern Command, the official account of SOUTHCOM, which oversees military activities in the Caribbean and Latin America, the crossing over of narco submarines in the Atlantic Ocean is posing huge problems for both Europe and the US.

These narco submarines have shipped tonnes of drugs to North America, with only one documented transatlantic narco submarine being caught on the European shores in November. The article further emphasised that European law and security lacked the experience to tackle the specially-built narco submarines as they are extremely difficult to detect.

H I Sutton, an author and defence analyst, meanwhile, tweeted about the identity of a Russian submarine that surfaced off Alaska. According to the US Navy, the submarine was taking part in a naval exercise and may have surfaced due to an emergency. Verification of the events was still ongoing as the satellite imagery did not match with that of a Russian submarine, the article noted.

In other news, Chris Cavas, a naval warfare journalist and commentator, shared an article on how professional divers cleared fishing nets and debris from a sunken Britain submarine named HMS Perseus. The submarine sunk after hitting an Italian mine off the Greek island of Kefalonia in 1941 and currently lies at a depth of 170ft. The fishing nets, also known as ghost nets, were cleared as they can possibly hurt marine life including sea turtles, seals, and dolphins, the article highlighted.

2. Navy – 301 mentions

The deployment of advanced submarines, technological advancements in military aviation, and award of contracts for unmanned surface vehicle (USV) family of systems, was popularly discussed during the month. According to an article shared by The War Zone, offering opinions on the world of defence, the US Navy revealed its first-in-class USS Seawolf, an advanced submarine, off Norway. The public disclosure of the otherwise secretive submarine was intended to emphasise its underwater capabilities in the region, the article suggested.

The US Navy also awarded contracts for the delivery of various equipments to support and modernise the USV family of systems, which will eventually become a part of the navy’s unmanned surface fleet, the article noted.

In other news, Tyler Rogoway, an aviation editor, discussed how military aviators can capitalise on artificial intelligence (AI) applications. He shared a Navy F/A-18 squadron commander’s views on AI beating a real pilot in a simulated dogfight. The AI pilot developed by Heron Systems won over an Air Force F-16 human pilot. Apart from rapidly fine-tuning a tracking solution, the AI could also maintain an efficient energy state, among other advantages, the article briefed.

3. Frigate – 156 mentions

Progress in the design of the Type 31 frigate for the UK Royal Navy, procurement of warships, and upgraded frigates capable of firing missiles, were widely discussed during the month of August. According to an article shared by Royal Navy, an independent online campaign to promote the Royal Navy, a comprehensive review of the Type 31 frigate’s preliminary design being developed by Babcock International Group revealed that it had achieved technical maturity.

The Whole Ship Preliminary Design Review (WSPDR) of the vessel was conducted by 15 experts on important aspects including maturity, compliance, and engineering risk of the design, the article noted.

Janes, a defence intelligence provider, meanwhile, shared an article on the Indonesian Ministry of Defence considering the procurement of Germany’s Bremen Type 122-class warship to fulfil its newly established interim readiness frigate (IRF) requirement. The Bremen class comprises a total of eight frigates commissioned by the German Navy from 1982 to 1990. IRF priorities include the procurement of Danish frigates as well, the article detailed.

In other news, the Royal Australian Navy, the official Twitter account of the Australian Navy, discussed how HMAS Arunta, the first frigate to have completed the Anzac Midlife Capability Assurance Program (AMCAP) upgrade, fired surface-to-air missiles in Hawaii. The article further suggested that this was the first time that an AMCAP frigate took part at Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC).

4. Maritime Security – 98 mentions

US Navy technicians training in the Arabian Gulf, lack of port security leading to the Beirut explosion, and security cooperation initiatives, were popularly discussed in August. According to an article shared by US 5th fleet, the official account of the US naval forces central command, technicians of the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command’s explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) worked and trained alongside partners in the US Central Command on various activities to ensure maritime security and stability in the region. The activities included mine warfare operations, underwater search, recovery ops, underwater repairs, and more.

Sebastian Bruns, a navy strategy expert, meanwhile, discussed how maritime security focuses on high-profile events such as terrorism, while hazardous cargo is often ignored. The article detailed how abandoned containers with hazardous material are found regularly at ports. Disasters such as the Beirut explosion can be avoided by ensuring better port management and focussing on eradicating smuggling and corruption, the article added.

In other news, Blake Herzinger, an Indo-Pacific security cooperation specialist, shared an article on the security cooperation initiative taken by the US with Vietnam. The two countries now have a common goal of a secure and free Indo-Pacific region. The article further detailed that the US Department of Defense has provided Vietnam with an additional $10m for the FY2016 – FY2020 to ensure Indo-Pacific maritime security.

5. Missile – 73 mentions

Change of command in missile defence facilities, the development of new-guided missile capabilities, and military and naval drills, was popularly discussed during the month. According to an article shared by US Naval Forces Europe-Africa/US 6th Fleet, the official command account of the US Navy Europe, Cmdr. Mike Dwan relieved Cmdr. John E. Fitzpatrick as the Aegis Ashore Missile Defense Facility (AMMDF) commanding officer in Romania. The facility is designed to detect, track, as well as destroy ballistic missiles.

Meanwhile, according to National Interest, an international affairs magazine, the Chinese Navy confirmed that its new guided-missiles cruisers can launch land-attack cruise missiles. The Type 055 cruisers can, therefore, be positioned against the large U.S. Navy surface combatants. The cruisers also surpass Korean and Japanese vessels in size, performance, missile capabilities, the article detailed.

In other news, Chris Cavas shared an article on how Iran test-fired ballistic missiles against hypothetical enemies during the final stages of its naval drills. The firing alerted American troops at the Al-Dhafra Air Base in Abu Dhabi, UAE and at the Al-Udeid Air Base located in Doha, Qatar, the article noted.