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Thread: How do submarines communicate when under water

  1. #1
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    How do submarines communicate when under water

    Since electromagnetics waves are quickly attenuated in water, how do submarines communicate when underwater, furthermore, till which depth communication with external world is possible (a few millimeters or meters).

  2. #2
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    The Short answer to this is they don't - mainly as any efficient communication involves surfacing and potentialy giving your position away. However Very Low Frequency Radio can penetrate water but is very ineffecient for information transfer (75 Baud TG at best) I beleive that for short range contact (Sub-Ship-Sub) they can use some kind of phone which (I think) works on an inductive loop ( A bit like phones for the hard of hearing) but don't quote me on it.

  3. #3
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    Yes I understand that using extremely low frequency (ELF) they can "communicate" upto depths of 40 meters, however - as you also have said - the data rate is so low that it can only be used for passing launching codes etc...

    I wanted to know if there was any "high-speed" communication channel available, whilst being underwater.

  4. #4
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    there's a brief description of underwater submarine communication in Clancy's Red Storm Rising, when captain Dan McCafferty in the USS Chicago talks to the USS Providence's skipper. unfortunately i dont have that book anymore . all i remember is that it involves some kind of phone...
    for i came down from heaven not to do my will, but to do the will of Him who sent me

  5. #5
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    Ok i just found one page from my Red Storm Rising book where Chicago and Boston are communicating underwater.It just mentions that they talked and that their gertrude phones were on a very low power setting.

  6. #6
    Twilight2002 Guest
    ELF signalling can be transmitted over very long (strategic distances), i believe, though doing this requires multi-mile long antennae arrays established on remote areas of coastline, consuming a very high amount of wattage. ELF messages can be recieved by submarine vessels more easily, the closer they are to the surface, though it is generally assumed (but not known fact, this would be sensitive info) that submarines recieve information by this mode only for EAM's requiring re-direction and combat, very or very very slowly, and heavily encrypted.

    Generally, submarines do as little communicating as possible. Wheverer possible, they will try to perform their missions with no external comms activity whatsoever.

  7. #7
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    couldnt they have some sort of towed floating communication array? that would give it some sort of satellite link?

  8. #8
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    Yes, they could.
    A small towed floating communication array could give them GPS coordinates, satellite com, launching codes, controls for drones, missiles, UCAV-N etc..

    But I would have the same negative aspect like a periscope or a snorkel.
    Even if you make it stealthy, it could be seen by ships, aircrafts and satellite.

    fightingirish
    Last edited by fightingirish; 13th January 2005 at 18:55.

  9. #9
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    Search for underwater telephones and read it.

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    They have that kind of communications buoy, at least the Russia subs have it, don't have time to get you more information

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    Quote Originally Posted by wd1
    there's a brief description of underwater submarine communication in Clancy's Red Storm Rising, when captain Dan McCafferty ...
    Clancy huh? Is he really considered to be a reliable source these days? When I read SSN during my days in Navy I had the greatest laugh of my time. What that man is producing is either propaganda or wishful thinking regarding US submarines capabilities.

    regards,
    Castor

  12. #12
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    well not everyone has the Sea Dragon avionics suite installed on their aircraft

    but even then, a periscope is pretty big, but this would be some sort of tiny camoflauged thing...

  13. #13
    TJ is offline Rank 5 Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by fft
    Since electromagnetics waves are quickly attenuated in water, how do submarines communicate when underwater, furthermore, till which depth communication with external world is possible (a few millimeters or meters).
    Those guys listen for broadcasts from both shore stations and aircraft. Only generally in an emergency will they break radio silence.

    Radio amateurs intercept these signals on a regular basis.

    http://www.wunclub.com/

    Worldwide Utility News (WUN) is an electronic club for sharing news, information and loggings about Utility (non-broadcast) transmissions on the radio spectrum.

    http://www.wunclub.com/

    This is the WUN clubs guid to ELF-VLF:

    http://www.wunclub.com/archive/files...GUIDE-v1.0.rtf

    This website should give you all the info you need. The website creator is a Norwegian radio amateur who monitors Russian naval signals:

    http://www.vlf.it/zevs/zevs.htm

    http://www.cvni.net/radio/nsnl/nsnl60mil.html

    "Russian/CIS military stations
    Flash message copied on 18.1 kHz:
    "XXX XXX RDL 66983 47202 KARATAL 3250 2051 K"

    http://www.cvni.net/radio/nsnl/nsnl47ms.html

    "Our LF specialist, Trond, caught a number of flash messages on 18.1 kHz, 21.1 kHz, and 13852 kHz:

    UUU XXX XXX M8H8 M8H8 WRNU WRNU SVQZ SVQZ 10193 KORKONT 8503 3052 K

    XXX XXX RKS RKS 90250 WORSOWANIE 7967 8801 WERWEY 4647 4739 K

    XXX XXX RDL RDL 02428 59742 OBSAD 5308 4731 K

    UUU UUU XXX XXX RJD52 RJD52 59993 TARNOBOJKA 4712 7237 UUU XXX XXX RJD52 RJD52 59993 TARNOBOJKA 4712 7237 K"

    The above intercepted messages are sent in Morse Code. The Russians are still big users of Morse. Cheap, efficient, well tried and tested. Those who have been seen images (or been inside) of Bears and Coots etc will notice the Morse Key. The Bear Js with their trailing wire antennas are also a very active part in the Russian communications structure.

    TJ

  14. #14
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    hmmz, still, a small buoy would work well i think..

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