Aug 28, 2017 | By Benedict

Engineers have proposed a number of futuristic concepts for new Royal Navy vehicles and weapons. Their designs include a 3D printed stingray-like submarine and swarms of fish-shaped torpedoes.

Vehicle concepts are often a mixed bag: while artist impressions of, say, high-end cars can offer real insight into future vehicle technologies, they often verge on the fantastical—too elaborate, too fanciful, and not enough justification for how and why any of these future technologies might come about.

But when it’s in-the-know professional engineers doing the designs, you have to stop and pay a bit more notice. (Even when their designs take their inspiration from manta rays, eels, and fish.)

That’s right, young scientists and engineers from UKNEST, a science, engineering, and technology nonprofit focused on naval design, have submitted a number of weird and wonderful proposals for future underwater vehicles, some of which are 3D printed.

These young engineers reportedly work for a diverse range of companies, including Atlas Elektronik, Babcock, BAE Systems, BMT, DSTL, L3, Lockheed Martin, MOD, QinetiQ, Rolls Royce, SAAB Seaeye, and Thales. Impressive names, and impressive designs to match.

“With more than 70 per cent of the planet's surface covered by water, the oceans remain one of the world's great mysteries and untapped resources,” commented Commander Peter Pipkin, the Royal Navy's fleet robotics officer. “It's predicted that in 50 years' time there will be more competition between nations to live and work at sea or under it. With this in mind that the Royal Navy is looking at its future role, and how it will be best equipped to protect Britain's interests around the globe.”

The crazy designs, which have been given the Royal Navy’s seal of approval, include a “mothership” submarine called “Nautilus 100,” which features a whale shark mouth and the body of manta ray.

Quiet, efficient, and ultra-fast, the concept sub would suck water in through its mouth and pump it out of the rear—a process not unlike that used by Dyson vacuum cleaners. It would also employ a “supercavitating” system for boiling ocean water in front of it with a laser, reducing resistance.

According to Rear Admiral Tim Hodgson, the Ministry of Defence's director of submarine capability, these plans might not be as outlandish as they seem when considered in the context of naval history.

“From Nelson's tactics at the Battle of Trafalgar to Fisher's revolutionary Dreadnought battleships, the Royal Navy's success has always rested on a combination of technology and human skill,” Hodgson said.

Specifications for the Nautilus 100 include a 3D printed hull made from acrylic materials and alloys, with surfaces that can dynamically change shape. The unusual vehicle would also have tiny graphene scales, controlled by an electric current, for reducing noise.

The submarine also showcases a range of futuristic weapons, which also happen to look like sea creatures. Autonomous sea drones shaped like eels and tiny dissolvable swarm drones have each been proposed, as have flying fish drones to replace torpedoes.

“Today's Royal Navy is one of the most technologically advanced forces in the world, and that's because we have always sought to think differently and come up with ideas that challenge traditional thinking,” Pipkin said. “If only 10 per cent of these ideas become reality, it will put us at the cutting edge of future warfare and defense operations.”

Hodgson echoed Pipkin’s sentiments, saying: “We want to encourage our engineers of the future to be bold, think radically, and push boundaries.”



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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thoxbui wrote at 8/28/2017 9:58:29 PM:

It's the Flying Sub from Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea!

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