Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Monday, July 18, 2005

More Than "Brains" Being Wasted Here...

(Intel Source: NOSI) My head hurts after reading this article on possible future unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs):

"One of many elements in the Navy’s new master plan for unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) is a concept for a large mini-sub — 10 tons or more — that could be launched from the new class of SSGN cruise-missile submarines or the planned Littoral Combat Ship and carry dozens of smaller UUVs closer to a target.
"For example, an SSGN would dispatch a mother-mini into the middle of a minefield that has been mapped by a specialized unmanned vehicle. The mother sub would deploy smaller UUVs to neutralize each mine on the map.
"The Navy also envisions underwater vehicles of the future capable of missions lasting longer than 30 days, and the development of a “brain-based controller,” which would be based on the motor control system in animal brains, enabling unmanned subs to deal with vagaries of the underwater environment such as turbulence or obstacles in their paths."

They could also program it to have monkeys fly out of its butt. Seriously, in today's budget environment, we'll be lucky to get a new class of UUV that lasts even 30 hours, let alone 30 days, in the next 20 years.

"There are still significant technical challenges to be overcome, particularly in the areas of energy storage, communications and autonomous control, but the Navy and its partners have efforts under way to address those shortcomings."

Those are the only problems you have to address? Aren't those kind of, like, all the important areas in UUV design? It's fun to dream, though...

Going deep...

Update 2325 18 July: I've thought a little about what I wrote here, and I admit I was being a little bit of a Gloomy Gus; I'd just read another article about what an abortion the Advanced SEAL Delivery System had become, and figured that anything having to do with UUVs would meet the same fate. However, I have to admit that the Navy did a good job getting the SSGN project going, and it seems to have worked fine, so maybe there is a future for this program -- as long as they get the money -- which I doubt they will.


Anonymous rebootinit said...

Joel, the skunkworks are going crazy...haha. The problem is they gonna have to learn how to fund the submarines to carry them. If they drop the number of subs do to funding the skunkworks, who's gonna pull the real missions? They bitch about the price of a Virginia class now? Sound's like the Seawolf program all over again. The Navy will never learn.
Right now we are spending major bucks on just the first flight 688's to keep them operational, they are the 594's of the 80's now. They'll either learn, or the sailors will pay the price....
Nothin new huh?
To quote MLK "I have a vision"....well in the military it is generally short sighted, underbudgeted, and screwed from the beginning. If the Navy would stop the dream bed, decide on a class of submarine, and make more than 3 of them, they would cut the cost.....
Idiots and least they did right with 688's outside of killing the repair money with the seawolf program.

7/18/2005 4:03 AM

Blogger drunknsubmrnr said...

I worked on this stuff a bit at an R&D company I used to work for.

Chances are pretty good the USN could get this to prototype stage, but not so good they could get it to actual production.

Maybe a good topic for an "Ultraquiet no more" post?

7/18/2005 11:24 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reality will set in, sooner rather than later: In mine fields there is rationale for UUVs, if they are capable of neutralizing mines as thoroughly and as cost-effectively as other methods. For stealth missions in littorals, however, there is very limited application due to potential interferences with shipping (malfunctions), violations of maritime laws and inherent (stealth-destroying) needs to warn local shipping of
such hazards to nav. A nice concept that will justify building a few concept UUVs at Pende Oreille.

7/18/2005 1:21 PM


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