Submarine Technology

Transition Plans Needed to Realize Gains From DOD Advanced Research Gao ID: IMTEC-90-21 February 14, 1990

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) Advanced Submarine Technology Program (ASTP), focusing on: (1) the types of submarine technologies researched under ASTP; (2) the status of plans for transferring technology research to the Navy for further development on submarines; and (3) whether the Navy was planning flexibility into attack submarine design to allow for technological changes arising from the research.

GAO found that: (1) DARPA was developing submarine technologies that could significantly improve U.S. submarine capabilities; (2) platform system research could shorten a submarine commander's response time by processing data on the operating environment, submarine and weapons system status, enemy location, and ship maneuverability; (3) hydrodynamics research used computer models for determining the effects of water flow on submarine maneuverability; (4) materials research included comparing different hull materials to improve submarine stealth, reduce weight, and eliminate corrosion; (5) mechanical and electrical research concerned the development of technologies to streamline propulsion machinery, increase weapons launch efficiency, and improve submarine stealth by reducing electromagnetic emissions; (6) structural acoustics research focused on methods to control noise through development of overall submarine design and engineering options; (7) the Navy did not have a strategy for transitioning DARPA submarine technologies to its ship development programs; and (8) the Navy had not developed a program for incorporating recent DARPA technologies into the attack submarine currently under construction.


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