LINK SIMULATION & TRAINING
The two acoustic operator stations of the P-3C are replicated in this section of Link Simulation & Training’s Tactical
Operational Readiness Trainer and will form part of the Forward-Deployed Trainer.
Maintaining ASW proficiency in today’s world situation poses different challenges than it did during the
Cold War, when Prindle began his ASW career. For
more than three decades, P- 3 crews have been training
in Link simulators that replicated the aircraft’s cabin and
systems. In addition, the Navy’s submarine force —
which numbered nearly 100 boats at its Cold War zenith
— provided numerous opportunities for air crews to
practice tracking the real thing. When P- 3 squadrons
deployed to a target-rich area of the North Atlantic, for
example, tracking Soviet submarines in an open-ocean,
blue-water environment, ASW proficiency became so
finely honed that tracking some submarines became
“almost boring,” in the words of one P- 3 pilot.
The ASW training environment is considerably different today. The simulators are improved, but the
Navy’s much-reduced submarine force provides fewer
“I think we’re a lot better about scheduling and taking maximum advantage of the windows of opportunity that we have with submarines,” Prindle said, noting
that his forces receive about as much sub time as they
can handle, considering all of the other mission areas
in which they must train.
Opportunities to train against diesel submarines operated by allied nations — such as those of NATO, Japan
and South American navies — are prized because they
are, in many aspects, “more relevant targets.” In 2005, the
Navy leased the services of a Swedish Navy diesel submarine, which operated in a training role from San Diego.
“The growth area in the world of ASW over the last
15 or 20 years is in the diesel submarine world,”
Prindle said. “I would like to focus more on making
sure we’re getting the right mix of diesel submarine
time to include opportunities to employ our multistatic sensors on diesel submarines, because that’s an
area where our depth of experience is quite limited.”
Multistatic sensors include Extended Echo Ranging,
in which an active sound source is pinged and the
return echo is received by a vertical line array of
hydrophones from a sonobuoy. Prindle said the Navy
has had some success with this concept but has not
had enough opportunities to combine use of the sensor with a diesel submarine.
Late last year, the Navy began developmental and
operational testing of Improved Extended Echo Ranging.
Unlike during the Cold War, when the Navy trained
against a specific Soviet threat and was familiar with the