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ROKS Lee Jongmoo (SS-066) and USS Columbus (SSN-762) off the coast of Hawaii; a United States Navy P-3 Orion can be seen observing them nearby.

Underwater warfare, also known as undersea warfare[1] or subsurface warfare,[2] is naval warfare involving underwater vehicle or combat operations conducted underwater. It is one of the four operational areas of naval warfare, the others being surface warfare, aerial warfare, and information warfare. Underwater warfare includes:

A Russian Navy frogman during training in 2017


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In the 20th century underwater warfare was dominated by the submarine. They first came to prevalence during the First World War, when German U-boats attacked and sank many allied vessels, such as the sinking of the Lusitania in 1917. A similar scenario occurred during the Second World War, when German U-boats launched a prolonged campaign against Allied shipping, especially in the mid-Atlantic. Japanese submarines also played a minimal role on the Pacific front, and American submarines sank a total of 5.3 million tons of Axis shipping throughout the war, most of which was scored against the Japanese.[3] In the 21st century unmanned underwater vehicles are coming to play a significant part in underwater warfare.[4]

Seabed warfare

Main article: Seabed warfare

Seabed warfare is defined as "operations to, from and across the ocean floor."[5] In general the target of seabed warfare is infrastructure in place on the seabed such as power cables, telecom cables, or natural resource extraction systems.[6][7]

See also


  1. ^ Eckstein, Megan (8 November 2019). "Navy Undersea Warfare Priorities: Strategic Deterrence, Lethality and Networked Systems". USNI. Retrieved 4 March 2021.
  2. ^ VANDIVER, JOHN. "Ukraine plans Black Sea bases as US steps up presence in region". Stars and Stripes. Retrieved 4 March 2021.
  3. ^ "Submarines in World War II (U.S. National Park Service)". Retrieved 2024-02-23.
  4. ^ MAKICHUK, DAVE (11 March 2020). "Silent running: China embraces undersea warfare". Asia Times. Retrieved 4 March 2021.
  5. ^ Carr, Christopher; Franco, Jahdiel; Mierzwa, Cheryl; Shattuck, Lewis B.; Suursoo, Melissa. "SEABED WARFARE AND THE XLUUV" (PDF). Naval Postgraduate School. Retrieved 4 March 2021.
  6. ^ Glenney, Bill (4 February 2019). "THE DEEP OCEAN: SEABED WARFARE AND THE DEFENSE OF UNDERSEA INFRASTRUCTURE, PT. 1". Center for International Maritime Security. Retrieved 4 March 2021.
  7. ^ Johnson, Bridget (22 March 2018). "Russia's 'Seabed Warfare' Could Hit Vast Networks of Underwater Communications Cables". Homeland Security Today. Retrieved 4 March 2021.