The Ocean covers more than 2/3 of the Earth’s surface. Technology is a critical enabler to leverage the undersea environment.
Leveraging physics, chemistry, biophysics, engineering and materials science is crucial to the study and development of advanced materials for marine and undersea applications. This includes materials that have less corrosion and risk of failure, are lighter and stronger, and can be used in a broader range of intense defense and commercial maritime applications such as transport, sensing and stealth.
Autonomy is the use of technology, systems and processes to accomplish outcomes with limited or no human involvement. Autonomous systems are essential for broad, complicated and hazardous marine and undersea applications including unmanned autonomous vehicles for research and engagement, vast distributed and independent autonomous sensor networks, and autonomous robotic maritime repair and deployment systems.
REFERENCE: (Illustration by Tim Silva, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)
The use of technology to transmit and receive information, communications is essential to most advanced maritime and undersea pursuits. From supporting surface and undersea human interaction and coordination during critical missions, to interconnecting distributed networks of connected automated machines and sensors, communications technologies are at the heart of most maritime-related applications.
Connected and intelligent technologies and systems drive modern marine and undersea applications, making them targets for potential attack. Maritime cybersecurity is the use of intelligence, technologies, tools, digital and human resources and best practices to protect critical marine and undersea systems and sensitive information from digital threats. Cybersecurity protects marine communications networks, hard assets, software and virtual systems from criminals and bad actors.
Reference: Graphic provided by Rite Solutions
Energetics and Power
Energetics, the study and science of physical, chemical and biological energy and its transformations, underpins modern power management and system sustainability in maritime applications. From power systems very long-life UAVs, to managing energy transfer in weapon systems, solutions to energetics and power challenges will help fuel the future of marine and undersea technologies.
Reference: Photo by Ens. James French, ONR Future Force Magazine
Modeling and Simulation
Advanced, AI-aided modeling and simulation provides researchers and developers the opportunity to test concepts, designs and even the physical prototypes in diverse marine and undersea environments with limited costs and no risks. From testing the performance of certain materials in various simulated undersea pressure environments, to game-playing the actions of bad actors in the digital twin of a marine management system, modeling and simulation are important technology tools to maritime research and development.
Reference: Navy CHINFO
Ocean, Environmental and Biological Sciences
Development of effective, scalable undersea technology relies on a deep understanding of the physical, chemical, biological and geological sciences. From studying the impact of saltwater fluid dynamics on undersea vehicles, to understanding the role phytoplankton play in radio wave transmission through different ocean depth zones, ocean and marine sciences offer a foundational element of undersea tech development.
REFERENCE: Graphic provided by Boston Engineering Corporation
Maritime technology systems generate copious amounts of data—environmental data, performance data, observational data, etc. Marine and undersea technology often relies on predictive analytics—the use of those current and historic data sets to forecast future outcomes—when building, testing and tweaking technology and applications. Predictive analytics can provide predictions about future wave heights in different ocean basins to aid in ship design, or forecasts of water temperature changes for better sensor and probe deployments among many other applications.
REFERENCE: Graphic provided by Blue Ridge Envisioneering
Sensors, Electronics and Optics
Cutting edge electronics and optical technologies help develop solutions that can survive and deliver in the harsh maritime environment. These electronics-based applications include deep water sensor arrays and hydrophones, and optical systems such as tracking lasers, photodetectors and high-speed cameras on vessels—all built for rugged long-term marine and undersea deployments.
REFERENCE: Image provided by: Tyler Lefevre Ultra-USSI Maritime