2022 World Naval Operational News Highlights

The ten most significant naval news stories / trends / themes this year included:

  • The Russian Navy’s overall poor performance in the war with Ukraine in the Black Sea, which was on par with the poor performance of the Russian Army and Air Force. Is the Russian Navy a Potemkin fleet?

  • The Ukrainian Navy’s adaptable and creative performance against the Russian Navy in the Black Sea. What additional indigenous weapons will the New Year bring to the Ukrainian Navy?

  • The further democratization of commercial space services (communications, imaging, etc.) for military purposes as evidenced in the lead-up to and throughout the conflict in the Ukraine. How will this affect naval warfare in the future?

  • The threats to undersea infrastructure with undersea cables to Svalbard and the Shetland Islands cut and the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 gas pipelines cut. What will be an efficient and effective technique for protecting such infrastructure going forward?

  • China’s new alliance with Papua New Guinea, which sits astride the U.S. – Australian sea line of communication. Will China build an anti-access area-denial base there?

  • Taiwan beginning to reluctantly adopt an anti-invasion porcupine strategy, encouraged in part by events in the Ukraine. With such a strategy could Taiwan survive an invasion by China?

  • Stepped up joint Chinese-Russian naval patrols around Japan. Is this the straw that finally broke the camel’s back and led to Japan procuring long range cruise missiles to provide its Self Defense Force with an offensive capability if attacked?

  • Lots of nuclear signaling with Western ballistic missile submarines to counter Russia’s nuclear signaling over the Ukraine. Did the West’s message get through?

  • The decommissioning of littoral combat ships from the US Navy almost as soon as they are commissioned. Is this the final, inglorious end of the LCS program?

  • Pausing of unmanned surface vehicle (USV) work in the U.S. Navy, which has decided to focus on USV technology maturation before USV procurement. Will perfect become the enemy of good enough?