Naval Technology lists the top five terms tweeted on naval tech in Q4 2021, based on data from GlobalData’s Aerospace, Defence and Security (ADS) Influencer Platform.
The top navel tech trends are the most mentioned terms or concepts among Twitter discussions of more than 150 naval experts tracked by GlobalData’s ADS Influencer platform during the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2021.
1. Submarine – 1,688 mentions
The British Royal Navy’s flagship aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth tracking Chinese submarines, Japan’s plan to arm its submarine fleet with long-range cruise missiles, and trials conducted on the Royal Navy’s autonomous submarine were some of the popular discussions on submarine in Q4 2021.
Deborah Haynes, security and defence editor at Sky News, shared an article on the Royal Navy’s flagship aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth detecting Chinese submarines enabling the carrier to evade them. The encounter occurred during the carrier’s maiden deployment named Operation Fortis to the Indo-Pacific region. The Chinese submarines were accompanied by jets that maintained a professional distance. The carrier has travelled more than 40,000 nautical miles as part of the maiden deployment and was escorted by a fleet of Royal Navy, Dutch, and American warships, as well as 40 foreign militaries. F-35 jets flew throughout the day during the deployment, while frigates and destroyers accompanying the carrier conducted other tasks, the article detailed.
Submarine was also mentioned by Tyler Rogoway, editor-in-chief at online defence publication The War Zone, on Japan’s plan to arm its submarine fleet with a long-range cruise missile that will have a range of more than 620 miles (997km). The indigenous missile is expected to be deployed in the second half of the 2020s. The missiles will enable Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) to attack both surface warships and ground targets amid rising military threats from China and North Korea. The missiles are expected to be derived from the Type 12 subsonic anti-ship missiles that are currently in service with the JMSDF, the article added.
In another tweet, Navy Lookout, a website providing news and analysis on the Royal Navy, shared an article on the trials being conducted by the Royal Navy on its experimental autonomous submarine named Manta. The submarine was developed by submarine manufacturer MSubs, the Ministry of Defence’s Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA), the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL), and the Royal Navy’s undersea battlespace and submarine delivery teams. The vessel was delivered to the Royal Navy in March 2020 to perform a variety of trials and tests from its base in Plymouth.
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The first two phases of the $3.2m DASA-funded project will be completed in April 2022. The first phase includes delivery, and basic seaworthiness and autonomy tests, while phase two includes two years of mission testing with progressively higher levels of complexity. The third phase includes the integration of the submarine with the navy’s MARCAP (Maritime Capability) team to conduct trials in the operational environment, the article highlighted.
2. Frigate – 509 mentions
Sailors joining the British Royal Navy’s next-generation Type 26 frigate HMS Glasgow, US warships deployed in the Black Sea leading to tensions with Russia, and HDMS Esbern Snare (F342) frigate being deployed to conduct anti-piracy operations were some of the popular discussions around frigate in the fourth quarter.
Royal Navy, the official Twitter account of the UK’s naval services, shared an article on sailors joining the navy’s first Type 26 frigate HMS Glasgow, which is the first of eight frigates. The sailors will work with aerospace and defence company BAE Systems to develop the frigate’s operation manual and check the ship’s systems and sensors. The Type 26s will be armed with bow and towed-array sonars apart from a Wildcat or Merlin helicopter. They will also feature a 5in gun and vertical-launch missile silo, as well as an adjustable mission compartment. The ships will serve to protect the country’s nuclear deterrence as well as its aircraft carrier strike groups against hostile submarines, the article noted.
Capt(N), a retired officer of the Navy, shared an article on tensions between Russia and the US escalating following the transition of the US warship USS Porter through the Black Sea. The USS Porter, a 505ft destroyer equipped with Tomahawk cruise missiles, was joined by the USS Mount Whitney and other ships from allied countries on its four-day journey from Georgia to Romania. The ship received a warning from Russian President Vladimir Putin following escalating tensions between the two countries due to Russia’s troop build near the Ukraine border. The rising tensions on the ground increased fears that it could lead to miscalculations at sea, the article highlighted.
In another tweet, Navy Recognition, a website focused on naval forces, shared an article on Denmark’s Navy sending its HDMS Esbern Snare (F342) Absalon-class frigate to the Gulf of Guinea to counter piracy in the region. Piracy is a major challenge in the Gulf of Guinea and the Horn of Africa. Maritime crimes such as drugs, weapons, human trafficking, illegal fishing and fuel theft also present a serious concern to the region’s stability and people’s livelihoods, the article noted. Denmark’s anti-piracy and anti-maritime crime operations aim to reduce the threat posed by illegal activities and protect the interests of seafarers, and international shipping.
3. Torpedo – 247 mentions
The next-generation US nuclear attack submarine SSN(X) featuring more torpedoes, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) winning a torpedo supply contract, and South Korea’s plan to develop homegrown torpedoes were some of the popular discussions around torpedo in the last quarter.
USNI News, the official Twitter account of the US Naval Institute, shared an article on the next-generation US SSN(X) submarines expected to be equipped with more torpedoes. The SSN(X) will be more specialised than the existing multi-mission Virginia-class submarines and operate closer to the shore for missions such as signals intelligence and special operations. The submarine will use the heavily armed Seawolf class submarine along with other stealth technologies developed for the Virginia-class. Furthermore, the submarine will be faster, require minimum maintenance and have a submerged displacement of about 9,100 tonnes (t).
In another tweet, Navy Recognition shared an article on technology company SAIC winning a $123m contract to supply MK 48 Mod 7 torpedoes to Taiwan and Australia. The contract also includes the supply of warshot fuel tanks and support services and is expected to be completed by July 2025. The MK 48 torpedo features advanced sonar, all-digital guidance and control systems, digital fusing systems, and improved propulsion. Furthermore, it has a computerised navigation system that allows for software modifications on a regular basis to handle evolving threats, the article noted.
Torpedo was also mentioned in a tweet about an article on South Korea’s plan to develop domestic lightweight torpedoes by 2028, which was shared by Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI), the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ source of information on maritime security in Asia. The $135m plan aims at improving the Navy’s anti-submarine capabilities and strengthening its undersea defence capabilities following the successful test-firing of a new submarine-launched ballistic missile by North Korea. Furthermore, the South Korean Defense Project Promotion Committee approved a $390m deal to supply GPS-guided bombs to the Air Force by 2027, the article highlighted.
4. Fleet – 184 mentions
China expanding its navy with advanced submarine fleet, Russia’s growing fleet of specialised submarines, and Russia’s Pacific fleet conducting missile-defence drills with Japan were some of the popular discussions on fleet in Q4 2021.
9DASHLINE, a non-governmental and non-profit organisation, shared an article on China adding advanced submarine fleet to its navy as part of a military modernisation programme causing US allies in the region to expand their own capabilities. China possesses 50 diesel-powered attack submarines, six nuclear-powered attack submarines, and four nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines, according to the US military’s assessment of Chinese military capabilities.
Furthermore, another report noted that China has begun updating its navy with two major submarine types including the Xia-class Type 092 and the Jin-class Type 094. Countries such as India and Australia have ordered the P-8 Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft in response to China’s expanding capabilities. The P-8s offer advanced marine domain awareness, surveillance and reconnaissance, and anti-ship/anti-surface operations capabilities, the article noted.
Another discussion on fleet was shared by H I Sutton, a defence writer and analyst, on Russia’s growing fleet of specialised submarines as tensions between the US and Russia continue to increase. Russia has a fleet of special mission submarines for seabed warfare and espionage, including two submarine motherships capable of carrying one or two deep-diving submersibles.
The submarines can be used for covert missions on the seabed, such as wreck plundering. The country’s largest submarine, the BS-64, is an enlarged DELTA-IV-class submarine that is larger than the US Navy’s Ohio-class nuclear powered submarine.
In another tweet, US military news and information website Stars and Stripes, shared an article on Russia launching a fleet of 12 ships and intercepting missiles in the sea as part of a missile-defence drills in Japan. The drills were conducted by Russia’s Pacific Fleet including the guided-missile cruiser Varyag in addition to 11 warships and support vessels. Equipped with three surface-to-air missile systems, the Varyag launched ten missiles and intercepted them. The exercise took place within Japan’s exclusive economic zone amid rising tensions in the Indo-Pacific region, the article highlighted.
5. Nuclear – 175 mentions
Russian Navy receiving two nuclear-powered submarines, Australia signing a nuclear propulsion sharing agreement with the UK and the US, and Indonesia and Malaysia expressing their concern over Australia’s plans to acquire nuclear-powered submarines were some of the trending discussions on nuclear in Q4 2021.
Peter Dutton, interim dean of the Center for Naval Warfare Studies at US Naval War College, shared an article on the delivery of the Knyaz Oleg (Project 955A) Borei-class and Novosibirsk (Project 885M) Yasen-class nuclear-powered submarines to the Russian Navy in December 2021. The Russian Navy currently has four Project 955/955A submarines in service, which are equipped with 16 Bulava (SS-NX-32) intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). Six Project 885M nuclear-powered submarines are also being built at Russia’s Sevmash Shipyard. The Borei-class submarines are a replacement for the Delta III, Delta IV, and Typhoon classes of submarines, the article noted.
South China Sea News, a non-profit and non-governmental project focused on South China Sea disputes, shared an article on Australia signing the Exchange of Naval Nuclear Propulsion Information Agreement (ENNPIA) with the UK and US. The deal is a fundamental component of the new AUKUS, a trilateral security pact signed between the three countries in September 2021. The agreement signals the first steps toward the development of a nuclear-powered submarine fleet for Australia with the help of the two nations. The ENNPIA will enhance dialogues by allowing the UK and the US to share sensitive and classified naval nuclear propulsion technology with a third country for the first time, the article highlighted.
In another tweet, AMTI shared an article on Indonesia and Malaysia expressing concern over the ramifications of the AUKUS pact. Indonesia remarked that the pact could lead to a regional weapons race, as the agreement came during increasing tensions in the East and South China Seas. The region is critical as it accounts for about one-third of world trade with trillions of dollars in shipping transiting through the region. The Philippines, however, backed the deal stating that it offers a counterbalance to the growing naval dominance of China, the article noted.