Modern submarines use a periscope-like electronic camera (a “photonics mast.”) to view the world above the waves.
The problem is twofold:
- If an adversary spots a periscope, there isn’t much doubt as to what’s under the waves: it’s a submarine (Figure 1).
- Periscope designs are apparently specific to each nation, so just seeing a periscope can be sufficient for an observer to determine what kind of submarine is lurking in the area.
Fortunately, we can easily disguise the periscope (Figure 2) to remove these problems.
The disguised periscope is more likely to be reported as a new discovery in cryptozoology (Figure 3), rather than a submarine.
There is one added bonus to this system: under normal circumstances, a submarine is not aware that its periscope has been seen. However, in this new system, it is possible that the periscope-observer might post their findings online (“wow, I just saw a Loch Ness monster at these GPS coordinates!!!”), and the submarine could then check the Internet to see if “Loch Ness monster sighted” was trending online and/or had been posted on any cryptozoology enthusiast web sites.
(If they find a post about the Loch Ness monster at their current GPS coordinates, it obviously means that the submarine’s position is no longer secret.)
PROS: Pretty much all of them.
CONS: May slightly increase submarine drag, thus reducing fuel efficiency.