- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 10, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Effective surface-ship anti-submarine warfare (ASW) is an oxymoron. Building destroyers to find Chinese diesel-electric submarines in littoral waters would end up with most of the surface ships being neutralized by those same submarines (“Zumwalt destroyers needed,” Opinion, Friday). The Chinese could easily overwhelm any attempt at ASW when approached from this standpoint.

Only submarines can provide effective ASW. China’s diesel-electric submarines are cheap and very stealthy when deployed in littoral waters. You need very effective passive sonar, and close to zero self-noise. Size matters when it comes to sonar arrays, and the sad truth is that surface ships, including Zumwalt destroyers, are inadequate. You need very expensive submarine ASW platforms.

Given the present course of federal fiscal policy, it is unlikely that the Chinese will not only loan us the money for the Troubled Asset Relief Program and unlimited stimulus programs but also provide the funds to augment the U.S. submarine fleet. As a result, we are countering a real threat with a gimmick. In fact, the whole notion of effective ASW with a high-tech tin can is so absurd that it must be some kind of ploy to distract attention from what is really going on. Then again, maybe not. This is, after all, the Obama administration, and the picture of the DDG-1000 Zumwalt is a lot sexier-looking than any multibillion dollar ASW submarine, which is what it is going to take.

SAMUEL BURKEEN

Reston, Va.

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