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Electronics & Test

Navy Eyes Unmanned Vehicles for Dangerous Missions

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Beth Stackpole
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Unmanned vehicles a natural for risky missions
Beth Stackpole   4/17/2012 8:32:41 AM
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Seems like a natural move to beef up technology to support unmanned sea vehicles for risky missions just like the Air Force uses UAVs. I'm curious why there hasn't been much real work in this area up until now. Are there more limitations?

naperlou
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Re: Unmanned vehicles a natural for risky missions
naperlou   4/17/2012 9:51:16 AM
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Beth, that is a good question.  Considering mine sweeping, approach to hostile ships, etc. this seems like a natural for this type of technology.  It also seems like it would be easier, since you are constrained in one dimension.  There may be other issues, or it may just be that the need has not been percieved. 

warren@fourward.com
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Re: Unmanned vehicles a natural for risky missions
warren@fourward.com   4/18/2012 7:49:09 AM
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I wonder how many other areas this concept could be used in, Beth.  So far there is the Air Force and UAVs, the Navy and water-based UOVs (unmanned ocean vehicles), nuclear remote robots, and mine-detecting/mine destroying robots.  There must be unlimited opportunities for the next Steve Jobs who will find the next application.  I hope I'm him...

kenish
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Re: Unmanned vehicles a natural for risky missions
kenish   4/18/2012 11:14:15 AM
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This could be an effective solution to pirates off the coast of Somalia.

apresher
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Unmanned Vehicles
apresher   4/17/2012 9:03:16 AM
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Beth, This does look like an extension of their control technology for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) using a similar command and control system. Interesting technology.

JimT@Future-Product-Innovations
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Ability to "right itself" from capsized condition
JimT@Future-Product-Innovations   4/17/2012 3:43:11 PM
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Not only the technology of being un-manned-(remarkable enough); but another technology (not described in much detail): An anti-sinking feature that enables the boat to automatically shut off, right itself, and resume its course if it capsizes. That is amazing!  How about commercializing that feature into mainstream yachting-?  Bet the captain of the Costa Concordia (the sunken Italian cruise ship) would have liked that feature?!

DB_Wilson
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Re: Ability to "right itself" from capsized condition
DB_Wilson   4/18/2012 10:13:02 AM
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The Coast Guard has had some self-righting boats for several years.  The 47 foot motor life boats have been in service since 1997.  This boat self-rights in 15 seconds with all equipment fully functional.  The new 45 foot medium response boat that began entering service in 2008 is self-righting but is not designed for conditions as severe as the motor life boat.

JimT@Future-Product-Innovations
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Re: Ability to "right itself" from capsized condition
JimT@Future-Product-Innovations   4/18/2012 12:35:29 PM
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That is so cool !  How does it work-?  I can understand "sensing" it has capsized, but what type of mechanism would "right" the hull-?

DB_Wilson
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Re: Ability to "right itself" from capsized condition
DB_Wilson   4/18/2012 1:22:47 PM
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The flotation systems are passive.  The weight and flotation are distributed to have the boat turn uptight.  (Many weighted keel sailboats will do this, too.)  As for the other systems on the boat, I must defer to others. 

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Ability to "right itself" from capsized condition
Rob Spiegel   4/18/2012 2:22:29 PM
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The whole notion of a self-righting boat was so interesting, I had to see it for myself. Here's what I found: A Coast Guard video of a self-righting boat. Very cool:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXF-TjOjD5k

DB_Wilson
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Re: Ability to "right itself" from capsized condition
DB_Wilson   4/18/2012 2:48:11 PM
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That is is nice test in calm water.  It's much more impressive if you have a crew on board in rough seas.

If you check the other videos, you will see some of the boat handling training in rough water with 4 or 5 crew members onboard.  I recall a show on Discovery Channel or History Channel that showed a boat roll over and right itself in the rough conditions while doing training.  The crew was 'strapped in' for their safety and survival.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Ability to "right itself" from capsized condition
Rob Spiegel   4/19/2012 8:36:14 AM
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Wow, DB, that is impressive. I looked at some of the self-righting video on YouTube. It's surprising how well those boats handled rough seas.

Jack Rupert, PE
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Size?
Jack Rupert, PE   4/22/2012 3:08:36 PM
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I'm surprised that they appear to be aiming at full-sized versions of existing ships (39' in this case).  The Air Force, on the other hand seems to be concentrating their efforts on drones that are substantially smaller than the manned version.  Is there a reason for this?

The advantage I see here is that the Navy can complement their other efforts with these type of devices.  For example, the current push is to get away from the massive battleship size and focus on the newer littoral combat ships, which allow action much closer to land and up smaller rivers.  It seems that, properly scaled, these could enhance those capabilities in the same way the drones have done for the Air Force.

flared0ne
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Re: Size?
flared0ne   5/7/2012 11:01:49 AM
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I believe in the Navy's mind the functionality and usefulness of the platform is going to depend heavily on what existing weapons packages it can deliver -- almost all of which are less-feasibly deployed on any platform which is significantly smaller. Any approach which reduces the procurement cycle time to achieve weapons on the water (WITHOUT locking us into an early-obsolescence cycle) has a positive design criteria satisfaction gradient -- and iterating toward smaller special purpose platforms is STILL feasible.

I'm still anticipating the RP-jetski with various alternative load packages of torpedo and drone launchers, and probably a range of warhead delivery options.

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