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Antisubmarine Warfare

Antisubmarine warfare (ASW) is the area of naval operations that, narrowly defined, has as its mission the denial to an enemy of the effective use of the enemy’s submarine force at sea either by their destruction or their neutralization. More broadly, antisubmarine warfare may include action to destroy, disable, or disrupt the associated command, control, and support infrastructure in addition to carrying out direct attacks on enemy submarines. This entry discusses the emergence of the submarine threat and then examines the weapons and systems deployed to defeat the submarine’s attack.

Defeating a modern submarine threat requires the coordinated efforts of a complex force composed of multiple sensor systems, ships, submarines, aircraft, and weapons. National sensor systems cue specialized attack submarines and direct them to intercept ...

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