Dominating the high seas has always been a key air power mission. In the 21st century new technologies and techniques are transforming how maritime patrol aircraft do their work. Tim Ripley looks at recent developments in this key air power domain
Later this year, there will be celebrations to mark the 80th anniversary of victory in the Battle of the Atlantic. During the spring and summer of 1943, allied naval and air forces turned the tide against German U-boats. More than 250 Nazi submarines were sunk, and German efforts to strangle allied supply lines to Britain were defeated. The battle came to a climax in May 1943 when the Germans lost as many U-boats as the allies lost cargo ships. The 34 U-boats sunk that month represented 25% of the German submarine fleet, but the allies were building merchant ships at up to ten times the rate the Nazis were able to build submarines.