posted on Jul, 12 2004 @ 04:17 AM
CMR/CS is intended primarily for reconnaissance in depths between the surf zone and 40 feet of water, but it can cover waters of considerably greater
depth. Envisioned is a small SWATH (for better seakeeping) platform with an overall length of about 36 feet, a beam of 15 feet, draft of 6.5 feet, and
displacement of about 28 tons. The platform should have a range of about 100 nautical miles, with a payload of around 3 tons, and a maximum speed of
25 knots, with a cruising speed of 15 knots. The platform will be designed to be manned (three-person crew), unmanned, and remotely controlled. For
the latter, the platform would be controlled by a fiber-optic link with an encrypted LPI RF link for backup. Mine detection, classification, and
either marking or placement of delayed neutralization charges could be done by two Mk-7 mammal systems aboard each platform trained in the detection
of moored, bottom, and buried mines. An expendable mine neutralization system could also be deployed from the CMR/CS. The effectiveness of bottom
charges for neutralization of buried mines must be determined. Experience over the past 40 years supports the belief that mammals can be trained to
operate effectively with an unmanned system, but the provision of a three-man (operator plus two trainer or handlers) crew has certain advantages.
CMR/CS could be transported by a combatant or amphibious ship (or by air if necessary) and launched from over the horizon for a high-speed (15 to 25
knots) run into the search area. Search speed for the system would be 3 knots, covering a search path 50 yards wide. With a 2-hour on-station time,
each unit could cover around 600,000 square yards. The system would be capable of operating day or night, but night operations are envisioned for
greater covertness. Further covertness could be achieved by utilizing stealth technology in the construction. The search speed noted above is based on
detection and classification only. If the mammals are to place a transponder or a command-detonated neutralization charge on each mine contact, the
speed of advance would be reduced.
The CMR/CS concept provides for reconnaissance against moored, bottom, and buried mines unmatched by any other search system. For that reason the
panel believes that the Navy's support of biosensor research should be continued with the ultimate aim of replacing the mammals with a mechanical
system of equal capability aboard the SWATH vehicle. Beginning with the research conducted by the Naval Undersea Center, slow but steady progress has
been made in understanding the mammal's method of echo location. For instance, in the early 1970s, thin plates of different metals and different
geometric shapes were used to compare the discrimination capability of porpoises and divers. The diver was provided with a helmet containing a sending
and two receiving transducers. Test results indicated that the instrumented divers performed as well as, and in some cases better than, the porpoise.
Subsequent research, including that with neural nets, indicates that developing a mechanical equivalent of the porpoise may be feasible. This
technology requires further research before it can be considered for development.