Practice makes perfect in the hunt for submarines

With navies around the world upgrading their submarine programs, effective anti-submarine warfare measures are also needed. Saab’s AUV62-AT acoustic target provides a flexible and cost-effective way of training crews, without the need for an actual submarine.

Being able to detect, track and engage submarines is an essential capability for modern navies. The fact that submarines are often in use, makes it hard for naval personnel to get adequate training time with subs from their own or allies´ fleets. This lack of practice in anti-submarine warfare can reduce skill levels and mission readiness.

Saab offers a highly effective solution to this challenge in the form of the AUV62-AT, an autonomous underwater vehicle designed for use as an acoustic target. Able to be easily launched from ships, the device closely mimics a range of different submarine characteristics, providing crews with a cost-effective way of practising their anti-submarine warfare drills.

“The AUV62-AT is the most advanced anti-submarine warfare target on the market,” says Carl-Marcus Remén, Sales Director at Saab`s Business Unit Underwater Systems. “It allows crews to do everything from undertaking basic training to firing a torpedo at a target and to then conduct extensive evaluation afterwards. This means it is of use to everyone from experienced crews to navies wanting to expand their anti-submarine warfare capabilities.”

Remén explains that prior to being used the AUV62-AT is programmed for the desired behaviour. Once it is launched, it operates completely autonomously.  “It has a range of transducers covering the whole frequency range, from hull-mounted sonars to towed sonars, and even homing systems on torpedoes,” Remén says.

Multi-platform capability means the target can engage with numerous vessels simultaneously, and a tail can be extended up to 75 metres to enhance the impression that crews are hunting a real submarine.

Remén says a key feature of the AUV62-AT is its sophisticated behaviour. “It can be programmed to undertake evasive action if it senses that it has been detected, for example increasing its speed or shifting its active or passive signatures."

After an exercise, the data collected by the AUV62-AT can be downloaded and analysed, providing crews with immediate feedback on their performance, helping them to improve their performance in subsequent sessions.

With navies in Sweden, Netherlands, Poland and Norway now upgrading their submarine programs, Remén expects to see far more use of unmanned technology in the coming years. “I think there’s going to be a lot of focus on using unmanned underwater vehicles and also unmanned surface vehicles instead of using ships for submarine hunting,” he says.