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Legal Aspects of Modern Submarine Warfare

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The author poses the question whether the law regulating the conduct of submarine warfare has come as far as the submarine has developed since the end of World War II. Certainly great strides have been made in accommodating the rules of naval warfare to the modern law of the sea. There has been considerable attention paid to the problem by legal and operational experts. Detailed guidance has been drawn up that will be drawn upon by officials of those governments, and that may be drawn upon by others. Some of these rules have been tested in the crucible of combat, but the last lesson has hardly been drawn. Reconciling dealing with the economic realities of enemy merchant shipping (by submarines) with the 65 year old rules remains a challenge. Unmanned autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV) may soon have a role in war at sea. How will the law deal with them?


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