War Game QB #2: Arleigh Burke DDG vs. Astute SSN

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Quick Battle #2 – Parameters

  • Starting Separation: 30 nm.
  • Adversary EMCON State: Sonars passive
  • Local Time: Morning (0600)
  • Engagement takes place in: Deep, warm water in the South China Sea
  • Weather: Clear, very light clouds, wind state 1, avg. temp. 14C.
USS Truxton – Arleigh Burke (Flight IIA) DDG w/MH-60R Seahawk (USN) [Player]Astute-class SSN (RN) [A.I.]
1 surface vessel + 1 helicopter1 submarine
Type: DDG – Guided Missile Destroyer
Max Speed: 35 kt
Crew: 315
Length: 155.2 m
Beam: 20.4 m
Draft: 9.3 m
Displacement Full: 9217 t
Displacement: 8500 t
Operator: Navy
Commissioned: 2015
Propulsion: 4x General Electric LM-2500 Gas Turbines, COGAG
Type: SSN – Nuclear Powered Attack Submarine
Max Depth: -300 m
Commissioned: 2018
Length: 97.0 m
Beam: 10.7 m
Draft: 10.0 m
Crew: 110
Displacement: 6500 t
Propulsion: 1x Rolls-Royce PWR.2 Nuclear Reactors
Max Speed: 32 kt

Sensors:
AN/SPY-1D(V) MFR [ABM Mod] – Radar
Radar, FCR, Surface-to-Air, Long-Range
Max Range: 324.1 km
AN/SRS-1A Combat DF Blk 1 – (1998) ESM
HF/DF w/ OTH Targeting
Max Range: 926 km
AN/SQS-53C(V)1 – (1998) Hull Sonar, Active/Passive
Hull Sonar, Active/Passive Search & Track
Max Range: 74.1 km
AN/SLQ-32(V)3 [ECM] – (Group, 1983) ECM
OECM & DECM, Offensive & Defensive ECM
Max Range: 0 km
AN/SLQ-32(V)3 [ESM] – (Group, 1983) ESM
ELINT
Max Range: 926 km
AN/SPG-62 [Mk99 FCS, ABM Mod] – (Group, 1983) Radar
Radar Illuminator, Long-Range
Max Range: 305.6 km
Mk46 Mod 1 [CCD] – (Group, 2001, DDG 51) Visual
LLTV, Weapon Director & Target Search, Slaved Tracking and Identification
Max Range: 185.2 km
Mk46 Mod 1 NightConqueror [IR] – (Group, 2001, DDG 51) Infrared
Infrared, Weapon Director & Target Search, Slaved Tracking and Identification Camera
Max Range: 185.2 km
Mk46 Mod 1 [Laser Rangefinder] – (Group, 2001, DDG 51) Laser Rangefinder
Laser Rangefinder for Weapon Director
Max Range: 0 km
AN/SPS-67(V)5 – (Group, 2001, DDG 51) Radar
Radar, Surface Search & Navigation
Max Range: 64.8 km
Bridgemaster E ATA – (2000) Radar
Radar, Surface Search & Navigation
Max Range: 46.3 km
TB-37/U MFTA [AN/SQR-20] – (2010, CG Version) TASS, Passive-Only Towed Array Sonar System
TASS, Passive-Only Towed Array Sonar System
Max Range: 129.6 km
Sensors:
Type 1007 – (1988, KH 1007) Radar
Radar, Surface Search & Navigation
Max Range: 177.8 km
Type 2065 [Type 2076 Suite] – (1988, KH 1007) TASS, Passive-Only Towed Array Sonar System
TASS, Passive-Only Towed Array Sonar System
Max Range: 185.2 km
Type 2079 [Type 2076 Suite] – (Astute) Hull Sonar, Active/Passive
Hull Sonar, Active/Passive Search
Max Range: 74.1 km
Type 2082 – (1994) Acoustic Intercept (Active Sonar Warning)
Acoustic Intercept, Passive Ranging
Max Range: 27.8 km
Type 2072 [Type 2076 Suite] – (Trafalgar, FMS 12, Type 2007 Replacement) Hull Sonar, Passive-Only
Hull Sonar, Passive-Only Ranging Flank Array Search & Track
Max Range: 129.6 km
UAP-4 – (Astute) ESM
ELINT w/ OTH Targeting
Max Range: 926 km
CM010 TV/EO Component – (1.5x/24x Zoom) Visual
Visual, Surveillance & Navigation TV Camera
Max Range: 41.7 km
CM010 LLTV Component – (2000s/2010s, 1.5x/24x Zoom) Visual
LLTV, Surveillance & Navigation Camera
Max Range: 41.7 km
CM010 IR Component – (2000s/2010s, 1.5x/12x Zoom) Infrared
Infrared, Surveillance & Navigation Camera
Max Range: 41.7 km
CM010 QLR IR Component – (1x/2x Zoom) Infrared
Infrared, Day/Night Spherical Situational Awareness & Fire Control
Max Range: 27.8 km
*Characteristics from the game database

Video

Comparison of Main Weapons

RUM-139C VLA [Mk54] – (2008)Spearfish Mod 0 – (1994)
Subsurface Max: 16.7 km.Surface Max: 11.1 km.
Properties: Bearing-Only Launch (BOL), Weapon – INS Navigation, Level Cruise Flight
Torpedo Seeker – Hull Sonar, Active/Passive
Torpedo Seeker, Active/Passive Shallow Water
Max Range: 1.9 km
Torpedo Seeker – Active/Passive Shallow Water
Max Range: 3.7 km
Mk54 LHT Mod 0
Max Speed: 45 kts.
Range: 4 nm, kinematic range: 6 nm. @45 kts.
Target altitude: -460 m to -10 m
Warhead: Mk46 NEARTIP 98lbs PBXN-103
Properties: Search Pattern, Bearing-Only Launch (BOL), Re-Attack Capability
Properties: Search Pattern, Bearing-Only Launch (BOL), Re-Attack Capability
*Characteristics from the game database

Statistics

PLAYEROPFOR [A.I.]
Losses:
None
Losses:
1x S119 Astute
Expenditures:
28x AN/SSQ-62E DICASS
22x AN/SSQ-53F DIFAR
1x RUM-139C VLA [Mk54]
Expenditures:
2x SCAD 102
2x SCAD 200

Notes from the message log

*ZULU times in parenthesis.

  1. 6 May 2020 (0829) – [Player] New contact! Designated GOBLIN #1 – Detected by DDG 103 Truxtun [Arleigh Burke Flight IIA] [Sensors: AN/SQS-53C(V)1] at 52deg – 28.6nm
  2. (0913) – [OPFOR] Contact: DDG 103 Truxtun [Arleigh Burke Flight IIA] #8 has been positively identified as: DDG 103 Truxtun [Arleigh Burke Flight IIA] – Determined as: Hostile (ID by: S 119 Astute [Sensor: Type 2065 [Type 2076 Suite]] at Estimated 15 nm)
  3. (0929) – [OPFOR] New contact! Designated TORPEDO #9 – Detected by S 119 Astute [Sensors: Type 2065 [Type 2076 Suite]] at 110deg – Estimated 17nm
  4. (0929) – [OPFOR] Contact: Torpedo #9 has been classified as: Mk54 LHT Mod 0 – Determined as: Hostile (Classification by: S 119 Astute [Sensor: Type 2079 [Type 2076 Suite]] at Estimated 0 nm)
  5. (0930) – Decoy (SCAD 102; Tech: Early 2000s) from S 119 Astute is attempting to seduce sensor: Torpedo Seeker (Tech: Late 2000s)(Guiding weapon: Mk54 LHT Mod 0). Final probability: 25%. Result: 35 – FAILURE
  6. (0930) – Decoy (SCAD 200; Tech: Early 2000s) from S 119 Astute is attempting to seduce sensor: Torpedo Seeker (Tech: Late 2000s)(Guiding weapon: Mk54 LHT Mod 0). Final probability: 25%. Result: 88 – FAILURE
  7. (0930) – Torpedo Mk54 LHT Mod 0 is attacking S 119 Astute with a base PH of 85%. Final PH: 85%. Result: 55 – HIT
  8. (0930) – Weapon: Mk54 LHT Mod 0 has impacted S 119 Astute.
  9. (0930) – [OPFOR] S 119 Astute has been destroyed!

Evaluation

I start the Quick Battle (QB) by setting a patrol square (in retrospect, I should’ve made it a circle) of 30nm because that’s the starting separation between the forces and I know the enemy submarine will be somewhere in that area.

I’ve tried ASW QBs where the submarine begins at 5nm away from the player’s ship, but the enemy sub immediately IDs, targets, and sinks it. So, to give me some degree of fair chance and challenge at finding it, I set the starting separation parameters at 30nm.

Bear in mind that I’m not an expert at any particular type of warfare. Submarines are basically the original stealth vessel on the sea and they operate in an environment that I’m very unfamiliar with. Due to their inherent stealth capabilities and the undersea environment, subs are very difficult to detect. Note that the QB begins on 5 May at 1400 ZULU and we don’t locate the Astute until 6 May at 0829. Over 18 hours later.

Again, given that the doctrine is set for FREE fire on any submerged contact, the Truxton fires a RUM-139C ASROC at the contact once it’s in range of its underwater weapons. The Astute attempts to decoy the torpedo, but fails and is sunk.

A few things to note are that one, the Astute was detected by the Truxton’s hull sonar in a convergence zone at 28.6 nm and not by one of the sonobuoys. Secondly, the Astute had already positively ID’d the Truxton at ~15 nm, but apparently didn’t get within range to fire a torpedo before Truxton’s ASROC went flying. The entire engagement, from Truxton making contact to the sinking of the Astute, lasted only 1 hour and only one weapon (apart from Astute’s decoys) was fired.

Alternatives

  • The Truxton could’ve been sunk by the Astute.
  • The Astute could’ve been detected by the dropped sonobuoys instead of by the Truxton’s sonar.
  • The Seahawk could’ve prosecuted the attack on the Astute with her air-dropped torpedoes.
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