Tuesday, April 21, 2015

US Navy Pursues High-Tech Submarine Upgrades | Military.com

US Navy Pursues High-Tech Submarine Upgrades | Military.com: U.S. Navy leaders say the service is making progress developing new technologies to ensure the U.S. retains its technological edge in the undersea domain – as countries like China continue rapid military modernization and construction of new submarines.

When asked about the pace of Chinese undersea military construction and modernization, the Navy's Director of Undersea Warfare said the Navy is focused on sustaining the research and development, or R&D, sufficient to ensure the U.S. retains its technological superiority.

Some of the efforts are yielding near-term results in the form of the USS South Dakota, a prototype Virginia-class attack submarine engineered with a series of high-tech adjustments, Rear Adm. Joseph Tofalo told Military.com.

The innovations, which emerged from the Navy's R&D program, include quieting technologies for the engine room to make the submarine harder to detect, a new large vertical array and additional coating materials for the hull, Tofalo said.

"I have an R&D program that I fund and the sole purpose is to make sure we don't get surprised. It is about understanding the science and technology and doing our due diligence from an academic standpoint to make sure we look at all the threat vectors -- whether that be hydrodynamics, acoustics, lasers -- and all the science that is associated with all that they do," Tofalo said.

While many of the details of these new technologies are not publically available, Tofalo said some risk reduction work on these innovations has been done on the other submarines such as the USS Dallas and USS Maryland.