Defense Advanced Research Projects AgencyTagged Content List

Maritime Systems

Manned and unmanned surface and undersea systems, including vehicles, robotics and supporting technologies

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Military platforms and structures, such as vehicles, ships, aircraft and buildings, must withstand transient shock, vibrations and other structural loads in a variety of demanding operational environments. These frequent and varying transient loads are often transmitted to occupants, which can degrade warfighters’ performance by creating discomfort and injuries. In addition, varying loads can lead to shortened service life for the military platforms, as well as the equipment inside. Currently, structures designed to achieve high stiffness for static loads (dead weight) typically can’t adapt to or dampen dynamic loads well. Conversely, structures designed for high damping do not carry conventional loads as efficiently.
The Tactical Undersea Network Architectures (TUNA) program seeks to develop and demonstrate novel optical-fiber-based technology options and designs to temporarily restore tactical data network connectivity in a contested environment. TUNA is currently in an initial phase that emphasizes concept and technology development in three technical areas: system design, small fiber optic cable systems, and buoy nodes.
During natural or manmade disasters, the U.S. armed forces, with rapidly deployable sealift, airlift, logistics, and medical care capabilities, may be called to supplement lead agencies or organizations providing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief support.
Effective 21st-century warfare requires the ability to conduct airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and strike mobile targets anywhere, around the clock. Current technologies, however, have their limitations. Helicopters are relatively limited in their distance and flight time. Fixed-wing manned and unmanned aircraft can fly farther and longer but require either aircraft carriers or large, fixed land bases with runways often longer than a mile. Moreover, establishing these bases or deploying carriers requires substantial financial, diplomatic and security commitments that are incompatible with rapid response.
Today, cost and complexity limit the Navy to fewer weapons systems and platforms, causing strain on resources that must operate over vast maritime areas. Unmanned systems and sensors are commonly envisioned to fill coverage gaps and take action at a distance. However, power and logistics to deliver these systems over vast ocean areas limit their utility. The Upward Falling Payload (UFP) program intends to overcome these barriers.