Maritime airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance in the High North - The role of anti-submarine warfare - 1945 to the present

Birkeland, John Olav (2021) Maritime airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance in the High North - The role of anti-submarine warfare - 1945 to the present. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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There is mounting consensus among NATO allies that the resurgent Russian naval and submarine activity in the High North needs to be closely monitored and kept in check. And in spite of the rise of satellite technology and unmanned aircraft, the key instrument in that effort, at least for now, remains the Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) with its Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) capabilities. However, after three decades of focus on expeditionary and counterinsurgency (COIN) warfare, there has taken place an atrophy within the MPA community of knowledge, resources, experience and practice when it comes to the ASW aspects of maritime surveillance. This atrophy occurred just as the concept of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) came to play an increasingly important role in operational planning. The concept of ISR, however, is linked to expeditionary and COIN warfare, and it pays insufficient attention to the challenges of maritime airborne surveillance and the specific challenges of ASW. This thesis seeks to address this gap. It does so by analysing the past in order to find solutions for the future.
The thesis examines the entwined evolution of airborne maritime surveillance by MPA and ASW in the High North, both during and after the Cold War, and focuses on the key NATO allies of Norway, the US, and the UK. The thesis further seeks to identify the fundamental building blocks’ and tenets of these historical surveillance operations that are then used to craft a novel theoretical framework for understanding the nature and function of maritime airborne ISR and its relationship to ASW. That framework is then applied to make recommendations for the future for maritime surveillance in the High North.
The thesis’s key findings of this thesis are that:
• Russian submarines as the capital ships of the Russia Navy. They have morphed from
noisy, predictable vessels operating in known patrol areas, to superbly silent vessels
operating in unpredictable patterns, carrying world-leading cruise missiles technology
that constitute a renewed threat to both European and American targets;
• the traditional airborne tool to meet the submarine threat, the MPA, is crucial but not
adequate in a modern context. A multi-layered, international approach is required,
which will benefit from utilizing artificial intelligence for complex acoustic sensor

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: ISR, airborne, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, High North, North Atlantic, Maritime Patrol Aircraft, MPA, anti-submarine warfare, ASW, Russian Navy, SSN, SSGN, SSBN, Kalibr, cruise missiles, submarine, theoretical framework.
Subjects: U Military Science > U Military Science (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts & Humanities > School of Humanities > History
Supervisor's Name: von Bulow, Dr. Mathilde
Date of Award: 2021
Depositing User: Mr John Olav Birkeland
Unique ID: glathesis:2021-81995
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 07 Feb 2021 17:33
Last Modified: 19 Aug 2022 15:54
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.81995

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