DARPA Considers Deploying Technology On Ocean Floor - InformationWeek

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DARPA Considers Deploying Technology On Ocean Floor

New research program aims to develop deep sea containers for 'just-in-time' requirements.

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The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is investigating ways to store technology, including drones, on the ocean floor until needed by the U.S. Navy.

An ongoing challenge for the Navy is anticipating where resources will be needed and distributing them accordingly, knowing it can take days or weeks for its ships to reach a location across the globe. DARPA's new program, called Upward Falling Payloads, would help address that challenge by storing a range of technologies in waterproof containers deep in the ocean. When needed, the containers could be awakened remotely and brought to the surface.

DARPA will hold a half-day conference on Jan. 25 in Arlington, Va., where it will flesh out the three key areas of the program: the communications component that triggers the containers' rise to the surface; the riser mechanism, which protects against the ocean pressure and lifts the containers; and the actual payloads that can be delivered this way. The agency seeks to attract experts in deep-sea engineering, underwater signaling, sensors, electronic warfare and unmanned platforms. The conference is open only to U.S. contractors.

[ New robot travels with Marine unit and responds to verbal commands. Read more at DARPA 'Pack Mule' Robot Takes Load Off Soldiers. ]

"The goal is to support the Navy with distributed technologies anywhere, anytime over large maritime areas," said program manager Andy Coon in a written statement. "If we can do this rapidly, we can get close to the areas we need to affect or become widely distributed without delay."

The research agency envisions the "just-in-time payloads" would be used for situational awareness, networking, rescue, disruption, deception or other capabilities that could be distributed in advance and hidden in place. In one example, DARPA said small unmanned aerial vehicles could be housed in underwater capsules that could be brought to the surface and launched to provide aerial surveillance or serve as decoys.

The ocean depths can provide "cheap stealth," speeding the response and extending the reach of the Navy without requiring ships and aircraft to launch the systems. The undersea containers are not intended for weapons systems, DARPA said.

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User Rank: Apprentice
1/17/2013 | 7:24:09 PM
re: DARPA Considers Deploying Technology On Ocean Floor
The ocean depths can provide "cheap stealth," -- even been involved in a deep sea project? Nothing is "cheap" down there.

Slow day at the old lab and these guys need a budget to keep the office open. And the good part is, by making it part of the "black budget" they don't have to answer to anybody about anything. Not even congress,who can't mention it even if they know about it.
User Rank: Apprentice
1/16/2013 | 11:44:50 PM
re: DARPA Considers Deploying Technology On Ocean Floor
Why just under the sea. Why not use space - hide stuff behind satelites, space junk, etc. This way, no one will know where to look.
User Rank: Ninja
1/16/2013 | 6:11:27 PM
re: DARPA Considers Deploying Technology On Ocean Floor
Sounds rather dumb to me, but then like "they" say of you don't dream you never advance. Still there are so many things that could/will go wrong with this plan I doubt it will ever get off the ground and if it does it will waste a lot of money. But then what the heck we have plenty of printing presses with lots of green and red ink right?
User Rank: Apprentice
1/16/2013 | 4:04:08 PM
re: DARPA Considers Deploying Technology On Ocean Floor
DARPA does some crazy stuff, I remember a few years back they talked about developing a flying, armored car for military purposes. Not sure if that is soemthing currently being worked on or just hypothesized.
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