Mönch US correspondent Marty Kauchak is attending the 2018 Surface Navy Association 30th Annual National Symposium in Arlington, Virginia/USA. He files this end of day report with highlights from the exhibition floor and conference rooms.
Current and prospective companies in the unmanned underwater and surface vehicle sectors will benefit from some of the insights on US Navy focal points in these two domains, provided by Captain Jon Rucker, Program Manager at the Navy’s Naval Sea Systems Command for Unmanned Maritime Systems, in the office of Program Executive Office for Littoral Combat Ships, at a conference floor briefing.
The service has a short list of priority technology areas for advancement in current and future products in this market. At the top of the PM’s list was endurance and in particular, onboard energy systems. Noting the current technology baseline includes batteries based on alkaline to lithium chemistries, his focus was on the latter group. To that end, “the focus has to be safety, to certify to operate these safely on a platform. We need a fail-proof plan to mitigate and even prevent incidents.”
To that end the service is collaborating with the automotive industry to advance the state of the art in hostability, testability and other capabilities in onboard batteries. The service continues to concurrently focus on fuel cells, and other energy denser technologies – in particular for the larger size vehicles envisioned for both ocean domains.
Other technology challenges the navy presented for awareness and solutions include: autonomy and precision navigation; command, control and communications; payload and sensors; and platform integration, in particular during launch and recovery.