US Navy’s next sub: Super stealthy and now underwater aircraft carrier?

“I would like some organic means of designing the submarine from the ground up that would seamlessly integrate UUVs,” Rear Adm. Michael Jabaley, the Navy’s program executive officer for submarines told the House Armed Services Committee on July 14. “The dream actually would be if you have ever seen remoras—those are the little fish the suck onto the big fish and go along and not seem to effect the big fish at all, ride in the stream, and then, when it’s time for them to go do something, they do and then come back. So that’s forward thinking.”

Jabaley acknowledged that such a feat is still a technological leap. However, it would be a vast improvement on the current system of using every opening on a submarine to deploy a UUV. The Navy’s undersea force uses everything from torpedo tubes to the submarines’ trash chute to launch UUVs. A system such as the one Jabaley envisions would allow a future attack submarine to launch and recover UUVs at will. That would effectively turn the boat into an underwater equivalent of an aircraft carrier—affording the vessel the ability to influence a vast area under the ocean.

The second innovation Jabaley wishes the Navy could develop is also inspired by nature—a biomimetic propulsion system that would eliminate a drive shaft and the spinning blades of a propulsor. If successful, that would lead to a revolutionary leap in acoustic performance. “At some point we’re going to have to move beyond a rotating mechanical device to push the ship through the water,” Jabaley said. “Although we’re not there yet on the oceans being transparent, one of the biggest things that causes noise to be radiated into the water is the rotating machinery and the propulsor itself moving through the water and exciting various parts of the stern and the submarine to radiate noise.”

Full article: US Navy’s next sub: Super stealthy and now underwater aircraft carrier? (Asia Times)

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