Could submarines be obsolete by 2050?


This article is adapted from a presentation to the Australian Naval Institute’s 2017 Goldrick seminar.

By Andrew Davies*

Let me start with something nice and uncontroversial. Submarines might be obsolete by the middle of the century. It’s possible that advances in artificial intelligence (AI), detection systems and signal processing, combined with swarming autonomous unmanned systems, could make it effectively impossible for submarines to maintain their stealth. To give just one example, quantum detection systems capable of picking up extremely subtle magnetic signals could be deployed on a large number of unmanned surface vessels, all networked together to provide an essential real-time map of the magnetic field over an extended area.

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