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September 2011 Issue

Navy Seeking Large-Displacement UUV Prototype
The Office of Naval Research posted in July a presolicitation notice for a prototype large-displacement unmanned underwater vehicle (LDUUV) that can operate for more than two months, conduct open-ocean and over-the-horizon missions, launch and recover from a pier, and operate autonomously when required.

The U.S. Navy said the LDUUV is intended to act as a force multiplier and close warfighter gaps in a cost-effective manner. To meet these goals, the Navy said autonomy and endurance technologies will be critical.

The program is structured in a two-phased approach. In the first phase, missions will be up to 30 days and take place in benign littoral environments, with the assumption that only vessels of more than 30 gross tons will be in the area. Additionally, remote assistance can be provided.

In the more rigorous second phase, mission durations of more than 70 days without human interaction will be required and will include open-ocean and littoral water navigation. All vessels, including fishing boats, that operate in littorals can be expected in this phase, and operator assistance will be prohibited in certain areas.

Full proposals were due by September 12.

ONR-NEDU Project Studies Cell Behavior at Depth
Scientists are now able to study cellular behavior at depths up to 1,000 feet through advancements in a joint project between researchers at the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and the Navy Experimental Diving Unit (NEDU), ONR announced in August.

The ONR-NEDU effort, which involved designing, building and validating a hyperbaric environment, is designed to explore advances to protect U.S. Navy divers.

Using a laboratory technique called patch clamping, in which electrodes are attached to a cell membrane and clamped, scientists can now monitor, stimulate and record a cell's electrical activity in a pressurized environment.

ONR said the patch clamping method could also bring benefits to those in the commercial diving community, who are vulnerable to the same hazardous underwater conditions as Navy divers.

Navy Removes Secrecy Order on GHOST, the First Super-Cavitating Ship
GHOST, the first super-cavitating vessel, has been in development since 2003, but it wasn't until August, when the U.S. Navy lifted a secrecy order, that GHOST's developer had a chance to show off the technology demonstrator.

Juliet Marine Systems Inc., based in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, said in a press release that its GHOST platform will be able to carry thousands of pounds of weapons and operate undetected in international waters. The company is discussing plans to build a larger 150-foot vessel by partnering with an international defense company.

GHOST leaves the dock as a boat, but the vessel behaves like an aircraft when it reaches a certain speed. At this speed, its underwater structures change position, creating an artificial underwater gaseous environment with 900 times less hull friction than water that the vessel then flies through.

Amanda Morin, a JMS spokeswoman, said in an e-mail that leadership at the U.S. Navy, U.S. Special Operations Command, the Office of Naval Research and Naval Sea Systems Command are all "very aware" of GHOST.

JSOW C-1's First Free-Flight Tests Completed
The U.S. Navy completed in August the first free-flight test of Raytheon Co.'s (Waltham, Massachusetts) Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW) C-1.

The success of the test brings the weapon closer to initial operational capability, scheduled for 2013. JSOW is a family of air-to-ground weapons that employ an integrated GPS-inertial navigation system and terminal imaging infrared seeker, guiding the weapon to the target. JSOW C-1 adds moving maritime target capability and the two-way strike common weapon data link.

The first free-flight of the JSOW C-1 demonstrated the weapon's ability to operate on the U.S. military's Link-16 network and to autonomously prosecute a mobile maritime target using new seeker algorithms.

During the test, the JSOW C-1 was released from an F/A-18F Super Hornet and guided to a ship target located 20 nautical miles from the launch point.

The JSOW C-1 provided weapon in-flight track and bomb hit indication status messages and used in-flight target updates based on designation of the target ship by the Raytheon Advanced Targeting Forward-Looking Infrared pod. Raytheon said the test concluded successfully when the weapon hit the target at a predetermined aim point.


2012:  JAN | FEB | MARCH | APRIL | MAY | JUNE | JULY | AUG | SEPT | OCT | NOV | DEC
2011:  JAN | FEB | MARCH | APRIL | MAY | JUNE | JULY | AUG | SEPT | OCT | NOV | DEC

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