Sub Snoops for the Future



This months issue of the Navy Leagues Seapower Magazine has a special report on an autonomous web of underwater robots that the Navy hopes will be operational by 2015. The Office of Naval Research-led project will imbue underwater vehicles with the ability to sense and independently adapt to everything from ocean currents to hostile enemy subs.

ONR chief Rear Admiral William Landay said, If we can sense that, get the vehicles to understand that, get the vehicles to adapt to that, then they are in the position where they really are starting to dominate the battlespace.

This net has been labeled PLUSNet and, the article explains, is comprised of a variety of autonomous underwater vehicles and sensor technologies":

Seahorse: A platform that can easily drift while maintaining a sensing mode. Will be equipped with a high-frequency billboard sensor array on its port and starboard {left and right to you landlubbers} sides for maximum coverage.

Bluefin-21: Uses a buoyancy engine to allow drifting and bottoming modes of operation. Combines acoustic sensing capability with mobility to allow adaptive search behaviors under autonomous and supervised control.

Seaglider: An energy-efficient glider for environmental sampling while functioning as PLUSNets communications backbone. When a glider receives an urgent acoustic message, Seaglider will alter its flight profile to rapidly surface and transmit ashore.

Slocum Glider: A long-range deep ocean glider designed to cruise in a vertical saw tooth plane, the Slocum Glider will employ an acoustic towed array, enhance adaptive environmental sampling and sensing, and will support network communications.

X-Ray Glider: The worlds largest underwater glider, it will offer a higher speed and greater load-carrying capacity than existing gliders, boasting acoustics and electric filed sensors, along with acoustic and satellite communications capabilities.

Check out more stuff at the Navy Leagues site. (And join even . . .)

-- Ward

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