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Darpa Awards Contract For Research on 100 Knot Submarine

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posted on Nov, 25 2006 @ 03:25 PM
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Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has awarded two companies, General Dynamics Electric Boat Company and Northrop-Grumman tens of millions of dollars to develop a submarine that can use supercavitation that will reduce the drag on submarines from 60 - 70% and allow the subs to travel at up to 100knots.
 



www.marinelog.com
General Dynamics Electric Boat has been awarded a $5.7 million contract to support development of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)Underwater Express, an undersea transport capable of controllable speeds up to 100 knots through supercavitation. Electric Boat is a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics (NYSE: GD).

The DARPA-funded Underwater Express effort will help determine the feasibility of supercavitation technology to enable a new class of high-speed underwater craft for future littoral missions that could involve the transport of high-value cargo and/or small units of personnel. Supercavitation involves surrounding an object with a bubble that allows it to travel at high speed. This contract contains two options, which if exercised, would bring the cumulative potential value of this contract to $37.1 million.

Supercavitation offers 60-70% reduction in total drag, or over 90% reduction in skin friction, on an underwater body. It can be attained by going fast enough to develop a full vaporous cavity, or it can be induced at lower speeds by ventilating, i.e., injecting gas, into a partially-developed cavity. Although the technology has been applied to weapons with minimal control capability, its application to larger vessels with transport missions will require thorough development. DARPA's goal is to achieve tractable management and control of the dynamics of a supercavitating underwater body so that an eventual system, manned or unmanned, could be envisioned to travel in this state.




Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


By partially surrounding the sub with air or a gas while the sub is going slow, they will be able to reach high enough speeds in the submarine that, the force of the sub pushing thru the water will cause cavitation and surround the sub with enough air and allowing it to travel up to 100 knots.

In theory it can be done, but the question is, do we have the technology yet to form a partial bubble of air or gas around a submarine while it is moving under water?



Related News Links:
www.defenselink.mil




posted on Nov, 25 2006 @ 04:29 PM
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I was just wondering... wouldn't it make the submarine an easy target? If it releases air into water... that makes a peculiar noise in the water, if naval vessels can "hear" a submarine opening a torpedo tube... hell, technology suprizes me everyday


come to think of it... I wonder what would other opposing naval vessels say if they detected the sub... "holy ####, thats one big torpedo"



posted on Nov, 25 2006 @ 04:46 PM
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Yeah it is certainly a trade off - on the other hand, if a sub is moving at 100 knots, you can probably detect it, but good luck hitting it with anything. IIRC the fastest torpedo currently fielded (by Japan actually) tops out at around 75-80 knots.



posted on Nov, 25 2006 @ 05:09 PM
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Actually the fastest torpedoes in existance are currently the Russian "skhvall " supercavitating underwater rockets - with a burst speed of > 200kt

if a 100kt submarine does emerge , then there will be the incentive to created hi speed torpedoes with the range and endurance to engage them in a " tail chase "

but IMHO the drawbacks [ inability to navigate , fire weapons , use sensors etc ] outweigh the benefits of hi speed burst

and lastly the energy required for such velocity is prohibitive

i wish the development team luck - but i will not be holding my breath



posted on Nov, 25 2006 @ 05:19 PM
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Ignorant ape raised some good drawbacks, but forgot to mention one - communications.

How difficult will it be to communicate while travelling underwater at 100 knots, surrounded by a gas cavity? Wouldn't the antennas create too much drag?

What good is a submarine that's deaf, blind, and mute - no matter how fast it is?

I'll be interested to see how they attempt to conquer these hurdles, but my gut says there are better ways to spend this money.



posted on Nov, 25 2006 @ 05:30 PM
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Yeah that's true, I should have said the fastest guided torpedo.

I can see this kind of burst speed as useful, especially in a "fire and bugout" scenario. But it certainly also has drawbacks.

However I'm not sure how much extra power would really be required - the supercavitiation effect would certainly lower hydrodynamic drag to a great degree, that's the whole point. If a nuke boat can overcome hydrodynamic drag to the extent that it can hit 36 knots already, eliminate most of that drag and you've got something that can really haul.

[edit on 11/25/06 by xmotex]



posted on Nov, 25 2006 @ 05:37 PM
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Originally posted by WyrdeOne
Ignorant ape raised some good drawbacks, but forgot to mention one - communications.


Actually submarine communications technologies are among the most advanced of all communications and data exchange systems today.

It would be one of the first considerations I'm sure in the development of this new high speed application.




“The Submarine Communications at Speed and Depth Program extends the principles of FORCEnet below the ocean surface to provide the Submarine Fleet with two-way networked connectivity when operating at tactical depth and speed,” Navy Capt. Dean Richter, PMW 770 CSD Acquisition Program Manager, explained. “The goal of CSD is to multiply the effectiveness of submarine platforms in support of Navy, joint, and coalition warfare by enabling two-way communications and network-centric warfare while optimally engaged in the mission at hand. These increased operational capabilities will allow submarine platforms to maintain their stealth posture while supporting Special Operations Forces [SOF] and providing decisive firepower for the Joint Task Force [JTF] in the Global War on Terror [GWOT],” he noted. “Carrier and Expeditionary Strike Groups are provided with significantly enhanced protection against undersea threats with the full utilization of the superior weapons and surveillance capabilities of a submarine operating at depth in coordinated anti-submarine warfare operations to achieve undersea dominance.”

Source link


The "gas cavity" certainly would present a challenge for submarine "acoustic communications" however, I am sure that too has been or is being worked on.



posted on Nov, 25 2006 @ 05:42 PM
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I'm thinking they'd use a drag line or something like that, as opposed to a traditional upright array.

Isn't that how supercavitating torpedoes are controlled (by a wire that trails behind the torpedo)?



posted on Nov, 25 2006 @ 05:54 PM
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Originally posted by WyrdeOne
I'm thinking they'd use a drag line or something like that, as opposed to a traditional upright array.


According to the article I linked above something like what you mention above could be used by making simple modifications to the "Buoyant Cable Antenna" which could allow submarines to transmit and receive data while operating at modest depths and speeds, however I'm not sure about high speeds.


[edit on 25-11-2006 by UM_Gazz]



posted on Nov, 25 2006 @ 10:47 PM
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In the "Related News Links" in the original post there is this quote:

SOURCE

This effort will help determine the feasibility of supercavitation technology to enable a new class of high-speed underwater craft for future littoral missions that could involve the transport of high-value cargo and/or small units of personnel.


I didn't know what littoral missions meant, so I had to find out.

Littoral

Littoral refers to the coast or to the banks of a river, lake or estuary. It is usually used as an adjective, but may also be used as a noun. The littoral zone is defined as the area between the high water and low water marks.


Littoral combat ship

The Littoral Combat Ship is the first of the U.S. Navy's next-generation surface combatants. Intended for operations in the littoral region close to shore,


So aparently, the research is only looking at the development of smaller subs that will work close to a shore line, and not the larger subs in the open ocean, as of yet.



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