The U.S. Navy is attempting to develop a stealth underwater system capable of providing worldwide “operational support and situational awareness,” according to a Jan. 11 release from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
The announcement, called “Falling Up”, cites cost and complexity that limits the Navy from operating over vast areas.
That makes a lot of sense, considering the cost of ships, which are expensive and limited in scope — keep going up.
And as the technology of unmanned systems has been realized in Iraq & Afghanistan with the use of drones, the Navy wants to get in on the action.
The concept of DARPA’s Upward Falling Payloads (UFP) would be “deployable, unmanned, distributed systems that lie on the deep-ocean floor in special containers for years at a time.” They can then be woken up remotely and recalled to the surface to send back data.
The contact is broken down into three phases, which cover the communications, risers, and payload.
The communications aspect requires “key technology such as transmitters, UPF receivers, and methods for health monitoring.”
The required risers, which will help in the capsule’s ascent upon recall, “should be designed to balance the [flexibility] of hosting a range of possible payloads.”
But the most interesting aspect of the UFP project is in the last area: payload.
DARPA gives some examples of what could be inside the capsules, including waterborne or airborne cameras, sensors, decoys, network nodes, beacons, jammers, obscurants, or “other useful technology.”
read full darpa proposal: here===darpa proposal