U.S. military plans to be completed in 2014 large-scale unmanned submarine

February 1, 2012 - via Military of China

Data for: Boeing U.S. unmanned submarine built in 2001 “Echo Ranger”.

U.S. want to build large-scale unmanned submarine
detect roadside bombs, reconnaissance and foreign military, to launch a remote attack, the United States a large UAV in various fields to test their skills, become a national media darling of competing interest, but no one seems to borrow some unknown submarine, which is why? In fact, as early as the 1960s there have been no diving equipment, widely used in salvage, rescue, undersea exploration, anti-mine warfare and other areas, but because of the existing unmanned submarine life is short, displacement of small, difficult to implement for a long time , complex tasks, more limited military applications. But the pursuit of high-tech U.S. military always are trying to change this situation, trying to get future unmanned submarine as “paying attention” underwater scout, silent underwater killer.

According to the U.S. Navy “intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance road map”, the U.S. military plans in 2014 a large displacement of unmanned underwater vehicles (LDUUV), serving from 2017 onwards, formed around the year 2020 an unmanned submarine force. But to achieve this plan, the first to break all kinds of technical problems.

comparable difficulty of finding the Holy Grail
According to information released by the Office of Naval Research, the envisaged large displacement of unmanned underwater vehicles (LDUUV ) is a completely self-control, long life, fired from the shore, in shallow water activities can be unmanned underwater vehicle. Its diameter is greater than 36 inches (about 91 cm), the displacement of about 20,000 pounds (9 tons), endurance of 70 days or more, through the configuration of different equipment, to perform for a long time intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions, the long voyage marine surveying, perform explosive ordnance disposal, mine warfare, anti-submarine warfare missions.

However, to achieve the performance required by the Navy, requires sophisticated new technologies that may also exist only in the inventor’s imagination, potential contractors and technical experts often no large-scale R & D submarine to seek the Holy Grail Knight compared to the ancient legend – a great and difficult task, no one has seen the way the Holy Grail, no one knows where the Holy Grail. According to “Defense News” Web site reported that there are two main technical problems: First, how to provide sufficient power to enable them to life 70 days and will not be easily found? Second, how to avoid the water, water, underwater obstacles, automatic navigation?

the introduction of new energy technologies for sustainable power
biggest problem is how to provide the ideal large-scale unmanned submarine force. Navy requirements for a lot of power systems, such as air-independent, durable, safety, environmental protection, small size, light weight, fast start, high performance. Rejected the first U.S. Navy nuclear-powered, the reason is very simple: in the event of an emergency situation, and no one on the boat, not in time, lead to disastrous consequences. In order to maintain the invisibility of unmanned submarines, will be a “do not rely on air-independent propulsion” (AIP) system.

The traditional power system – battery simply can not meet the requirements of the Navy, because of its capacity can not meet the requirements of 70 days underwater. Hydrogen generator may be a good choice. U.S. Navy has with AlumiFuel Power Company (API) signed a contract to test hydrogen generator provides power for small submerged. Despite the potential of hydrogen in the energy sector is well known, but the pressure of hydrogen must be stored in the thick container, its not a small weight and size are large unmanned submarine will bring a lot of trouble.

Perhaps there are other energy sources can provide sufficient power, but this time the U.S. Navy is evaluating designs submitted by various agencies, the parties have refused to disclose details. Robert Novak, according to independent analysts speculated that the final design may use a hybrid system. At low speed, low power requirements for use of battery-powered; need to improve the speed, through the switching device to switch to another energy system. Navy to reduce the demand for energy, also called unmanned submarines and other systems must be energy efficient.

top attaches great importance to the U.S. Navy submarine force no question that if you can not find the motivation to meet the requirements of large-scale unmanned submarine will not be able to complete its task. “Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance road map” that the Navy will provide funds to address the first “unmanned underwater vehicle’s power and endurance,” the problem, then is the “sensor, command and control computer, networking and automatic control” and other issues.

Just retired last September, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Gary Roughead is very concerned about this issue. Last August, in the absence of aircraft systems, speaking at international conferences, he said: “I cast a wide net, constantly seeking high-density water power, the technology, if successful, will be revolutionary.” As bait He put the past five years in the Navy’s research and development budget into half power operated vehicle to resolve the issue. In 2012, the U.S. Navy plans to invest $ 47 million for the development of large-scale unmanned submarine.

to avoid the reef and fishing nets for automatic navigation solve the power problem, does not mean that to find the Holy Grail. Unmanned submarines, unmanned navigation control complex than I do not know how many times. Tuna robots (Bluefin Robotics) Jeff Smith, director of the company’s major research project no automatic control of the submarine, he said: “Every year in fishing nets of dolphins and seals countless groan, while we have to face reality: despite the Our unmanned aircraft has been very clever, but in environmental awareness, the ability of these machines will never be close to the dolphins or seals.

“Even the manned submarine, the collision occurred many times, or an accident collision with merchant . In addition, because radio waves spread in the deep ocean is difficult, shore staff can not control the activities of unmanned underwater submarine establish a rapid and efficient communication, can not be real-time control. Therefore, controlling unmanned submarines, unmanned aircraft is not yet as simple as control. In 2008, a British company of an autonomous unmanned submarine fault occurs in the trials, is still missing. Therefore, the automatic unmanned submarine navigation is particularly important.

future U.S. military unmanned submarines certainly not cheap, will involve a lot of secrets. U.S. unmanned submarine do not want to own by foreign fishermen, groan, or rocks being captured, or lost control of nowhere to be found, so the automatic navigation of a very high demand.

First, large-scale unmanned submarine to within 70 days of the voyage, in accordance with the provisions of the planned arrival of 40 waypoints, waypoint arrival time of each error in 5 hours, distance error of 50 meters. This is not easy, because no one submarine in the water can not accept the GPS signal, difficult to accurately timing and positioning. Secondly, the undersea submarine to be able to find all diameter greater than 6 inches (15 cm) obstacles; sailing on the water or near water, and found two sea miles in all probability the surface vessel to reach 99.9%; found 100 feet (about 30.5 meters) in fishing nets more than 80% probability, and the ability to bypass the net. Again, also the activities of vessels under the surface characteristics determine the type of fishing vessels, warships, cruise ships, or merchant, and automated control of complex algorithms to determine the different circumstances of the motor way.

autopilot even if power problems and issues are resolved, it does not mean that everything is all right. Sufficient power can not ensure long-lasting life, such as submarine navigation in the long process, the hull will be attached to a large number of aquatic organisms, increased hull resistance, reduce speed. Temperature control is also important, no one submarine boat thanks to the computer control, how to prevent the computer from overheating, also a difficult problem.

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