Friday, July 09, 2010

Run Wired, Run Deep: Subs May Finally Get Online

A nuclear submarine in deep dive may be the last place on Earth where it’s impossible to get a phone call, a text message or the day’s dose of spam. But all that may soon be over, if a Lockheed-led program works out as planned.
Comms at Speed and Depth will be the first two-way underwater communication system for submarines. The exact depth at which subs will be able to deploy the buoys is classified, but Reints asserts that the length of the buoy cables is “measured in miles, and it’s long enough to allow the submarine to launch at significant depth and continue at normal operational speeds during a mission.”
All of this underwater communicativeness might just take the thrill out of boomer movies. What kind of drama will stoke the next Crimson Tide if the captain and XO get crystal clear instructions from D.C. that they can verify real-time?

I can see the value in this, but also the danger. Imagine a sailor on the mess decks with his iPhone (which sends it location data if so enabled). He tweets away before watch, and all of a sudden the subs location isn't so secret anymore.

I'd imagine this will be very, very, very tightly controlled when it's finally deployed for full use. Internet is all well and good, but opsec is far more important.

However, being able to email home would sure be nice.


At 4:40 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I'm not imagining on board wi-fi. What I'd wager is it will be internet at terminals. Subs already have computers on board.

As you suspect, it seems likely even that use would be tightly controlled.

Hopefully it will happen and open up better communication with home.

(blog note: could you open up commenting to accounts outside of Google/Blogger accts? I don't host my primary blog here and prefer to send traffic there of course. Thanks, Todd)

At 6:20 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Technically, the phone (iPhone or otherwise) would not be able to get a fix through the steel hull. When you factor in the fact that the GPS on a cell phone is also very innacurate without a carrier signal because they are "assisted" units it becomes an OpSec issue only when the sailor in possession of said phone divulges that information willingly. This is no different than the current Sailor Mail system.

It also bears mentioning that location based services can be turned off on the phones fairly easily. As always, the biggest opsec risk is the human factor.

Now, if they somehow found a way to put a cell repeater on board I would be worried. :)

At 9:51 PM, Blogger -J.D. Humenay said...

As a new Navy wife getting through our first deployment, I would LOVE having more contact with My Sailor. However, that said, I'd rather he be SAFE (hidden) than texting, calling, or emailing me.
If I'm assured of anything, in my short experience with sub life, it's that the Navy will do whatever it can to protect its investment in undersea presence. Especially as I read about longer deployments possibly coming up soon. Oy.

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