Friday, February 6, 2015

U.S. Navy's future -- lasers, railguns and fast underwater UUVs

Michael Hardy,, Feb 5

In the Navy of the future, railguns and lasers have replaced gunpowder, and speedy unmanned underwater vehicles are stepping into the gap left by a diminishing submarine fleet. The challenge is getting such futuristic technology into use fast enough.
Nearly half of the Navy's $2 billion science and technology budget will be spent on discovery and the invention of technologies that may not reach the fleet for another five to 20 years, according to a report in Navy Times.
The funding will focus on nine areas: assured access to maritime battlespace; autonomy and unmanned systems; electromagnetic maneuver warfare; expeditionary and irregular warfare; information dominance — cyber; platform design and survivability; power and energy; power projection and integrated defense; and warfighter performance.
ADM Jonathan Greenert, chief of naval operations, told an audience at the Naval Future Force Science and Technology Expo, that he didn't come into his job "with a thing for science and technology," but now it influences many strategy and budget decisions. 
His priorities include replacing shipboard guns with lasers and railguns—weapons that use electromagnetism rather than explosions to propel projectiles— and enhancing undersea unmanned vehicles. Protecting proprietary data is another key need, he added.

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