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UNDERSEA VEHICLES AND NATIONAL NEEDS Committee on Undersea Vehicles and National Needs Marine Board Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C. 1996
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NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Washington, DC 20418 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competencies and with regard for appropriate balance. This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. William A. Wulf is interim president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce Alberts and Dr. William A. Wulf are chairman and interim vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council. The program described in this report is supported by cooperative agreement No. 14-35-0001-30475 between the Minerals Management Service of the U.S. Department of the Interior and the National Academy of Sciences, by interagency cooperative agreement No. DTMA91-94-G-00003 between the Maritime Administration of the Department of Transportation and the National Academy of Sciences, and by grant No. N00014-95-1-1205 between the U.S. Department of the Navy, Office of Naval Research and the National Academy of Sciences. Limited copies are available from: Marine Board Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems National Research Council 2101 Constitution Avenue Washington, D.C. 20418 Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 96-71679 International Standard Book Number 0-309-05384-6 Cover Photos: Top: A picture of Alvin, a deep submergence vehicle. Photo based on a painting by George Warren Delano commissioned by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. Center: Triton 19, a remotely operated vehicle. Photo courtesy of Perry Tritech. Bottom: ABE (autonomous benthic explorer), an autonomous underwater vehicle. Photo courtesy of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. Copyright 1996 by the National Academy of Sciences. All Rights Reserved. Printed in the United States of America
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Dedication Mr. Howard R. Talkington was a member of this committee until his death in December 1993. Howard Talkington was a recognized world authority on ocean engineering and undersea vehicles. As a leading figure in the Navy Research Laboratory community, he was directly responsible for developing more than 30 different vehicle systems and much of the technology now used for operations to the depths of the abyssal plains. His quiet demeanor, his innovation, and his passion for ocean pioneering earned him the admiration of his colleagues everywhere, and he will be sorely missed. Howard's contributions to the early phases of this report were instrumental, and the report is respectfully dedicated to his memory.
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COMMITTEE ON UNDERSEA VEHICLES AND NATIONAL NEEDS J.B. "BRAD" MOONEY, JR., NAE, chair, U.S. Navy (retired), Arlington, Virginia JOHN R. APEL, Johns Hopkins University (retired), Silver Spring, Maryland ROBERT H. CANNON, JR., NAE, Stanford University, Stanford, California JOHN R. DELANEY, University of Washington, Seattle NORMAN B. ESTABROOK, SAIC Marine Engineering Group, Del Mar, California LARRY L. GENTRY, Lockheed Martin (retired), Sunnyvale, California JAMES R. MCFARLANE, International Submarine Engineering, Port Coquitlan, British Columbia, Canada ANDREW L. "DREW" MICHEL, ROV Technologies, New Orleans, Louisiana BRUCE H. ROBISON, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Moss Landing, California MARY I. SCRANTON, State University of New York, Stony Brook PETER H. WIEBE, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts DANA R. YOERGER, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts Liaison Representatives NORMAN CAPLAN, National Science Foundation LARRY CLARK, National Science Foundation RICHARD M. HAYES, Office of the Oceanographer of the Navy AL KALVAITIS, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration JAMES ANDREWS, Office of the Chief of Naval Research EDWIN L. LANCASTER, U.S. Navy Deep Submergence Office DONALD E. PRYOR, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration CHARLES E. STUART, Advanced Research Projects Agency Staff DONALD W. PERKINS, Project Officer DELPHINE D. GLAZE, Administrative Assistant WYETHA B. TURNEY, Production Assistant
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MARINE BOARD JAMES M. COLEMAN, NAE, chair, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge JERRY A. ASPLAND, vice-chair, California Maritime Academy, Vallejo, California BERNHARD J. ABRAHAMSSON, University of Wisconsin, Superior BROCK B. BERNSTEIN, EcoAnalysis, Ojai, California LILLIAN C. BORRONE, NAE, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, New York SARAH CHASIS, Natural Resources Defense Council, New York CHRYSSOSTOMOS CHRYSSOSTOMIDIS, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge BILIANA CICIN-SAIN, University of Delaware, Newark BILLY L. EDGE, Texas A&M University, College Station JOHN W. FARRINGTON, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts MARTHA GRABOWSKI, LeMoyne College and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Cazenovia, New York JAMES D. MURFF, Exxon Production Research Company, Houston, Texas M. ELISABETH PATÉ-CORNELL, NAE, Stanford, California DONALD W. PRITCHARD, NAE, State University of New York at Stony Brook, Severna Park, Maryland STEVEN T. SCALZO, Foss Maritime Company, Seattle, Washington MALCOLM L. SPAULDING, University of Rhode Island, Narragansett KARL K. TUREKIAN, NAS, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut ROD VULOVIC, Sea-Land Service, Charlotte, North Carolina E.G. "SKIP" WARD, Shell Offshore, Houston, Texas Staff CHARLES A. BOOKMAN, Director DONALD W. PERKINS, Associate Director DORIS C. HOLMES, Staff Associate
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Preface Undersea vehicles in a variety of forms have expanded human access to the deep, both for scientific research and for work such as cable laying and offshore oil and gas operations. They will help answer new questions about the future of the human environment and the structure of the Earth. Information gathered by undersea vehicles has informed the public since the 1960s. News and film footage from undersea vehicles commanded by Jacques Cousteau, more recently the wreckage of the R.M.S. Titanic, the Lusitania, and the battleship Bismarck, and Roman ships on the bed of the Mediterranean off Sicily have received worldwide attention, thanks to the firsthand view offered by undersea vehicles. The activities of scientists involved in experiments near the Galapagos Islands off Peru were brought into the American classrooms on a real-time basis interactively bonding students and investigators in actual scientific investigations. Advances in the technology that made these activities possible suggest that future applications of underwater sensors, sonar, manipulators, probes, and samplers will be no less exciting. Developments and improvements in underwater vehicle capabilities historically have been responsive to major national undersea sensing, monitoring, inspecting, and work-related requirements in both military and civil sectors. Remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) have largely replaced divers as offshore oil and gas operations (exploration and production) extend out into the Gulf of Mexico. They are also widely used in laying undersea cables. Industry will soon be capable of operating in depths down to 1,650 meters (5,400 feet)1 of the Gulf of Mexico. Further operational extensions in distance from shore and in depth will place increasing demands on better ways to safely and reliably perform both routine and emergency work on or near the seafloor. National interest in global environmental change, pollution monitoring and control, and use of undersea living and mineral resources has given impetus to developing a more comprehensive understanding of the oceans, requiring frequent in situ observations to characterize geological, biological, physical, and chemical phenomena. Experts have estimated that the kinds and quantities of data needed cannot be obtained in the necessary time frame using traditional methods. Similarly, present practices for exploring the seabed for minerals or performing bathymetry are too slow and expensive when performed using present ship and towed instrumentation; new types of platforms and tools are needed. Moreover, new enabling technologies will be needed to explore and describe the seas and seabed in remote areas, such as under the arctic ice cap and in the icebound regions of the oceans surrounding the Antarctic continent. ORIGIN OF THE STUDY The Marine Board of the National Research Council (NRC) has become increasingly aware of the national need in industry, government, and science to improve systems for doing undersea work and research. The Persian Gulf War reemphasized the need to develop underwater vehicles for coastal anti-mine warfare. The end of the Cold War resulted in an increased emphasis on dual military-civilian use of technology. This change has raised hopes for transfer of military developments and field experience to civilian applications. Accordingly, the Marine Board convened two planning meetings in 1991 to learn about recent developments and national needs in undersea technologies. A clear consensus emerged from these meetings that there is a need for a strategy to guide and encourage the development and deployment of undersea vehicles and their applications in response to national interests. Although there had been some previous review efforts, each had its own constituency or mission to govern the outcome, and there has been no convergence of conclusions and recommendations over a broad set of findings. In response to the findings of the planning meetings, which called for a single assessment encompassing all types of undersea vehicles and all nonmilitary uses, five agencies—the Office of 1 Vehicle systems are in design and under construction to support drilling and installation for the Shell Mensa project in the Gulf of Mexico, which will be operating from 1,650 meters depth.
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Naval Research and the Deep Submergence Office of the U.S. Navy, the National Science Foundation, the National Undersea Research Program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Advanced Research Programs Agency of the U.S. Department of Defense—provided funds to undertake this study. Accordingly, the NRC's Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems assembled a committee under the auspices of the Marine Board to design and recommend a national strategy for the development of undersea vehicles and their nonmilitary applications. Committee members were selected for their expertise and to achieve balanced viewpoints (biographical information is presented in Appendix A). The principle guiding the constitution of the committee and its work, consistent with the NRC policy, was not to exclude any bias that might accompany expertise vital to the study but to seek balance and fair treatment. The resulting committee membership balanced the technical, scientific, and research management disciplines and recognized the industrial, university, and government concerns in its composition. SCOPE OF THE STUDY The task of the Committee on Undersea Vehicles and National Needs was to assess the needs of the nation in regard to the industrial and scientific requirements for acquisition of in situ oceanographic data and performance of undersea work tasks. The objective was to devise a development strategy with objectives, priorities, and guidance on implementation leading to improvements in undersea vehicle technology in all appropriate civil applications. All types of undersea vehicles, whether human-occupied (the term used by the committee in lieu of "manned") or unoccupied, and all civilian applications of vehicle platforms were to be considered in this assessment. The committee defined an undersea vehicle as: "A mobile, controlled, self-propelled subsurface platform capable of carrying sensors and tools." Three broad types of vehicles were distinguished in the study: human-occupied vehicles, commonly designated as deep submersible vehicles (DSVs); remotely operated vehicles (ROVs); and autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs). This categorization allowed for consideration of hybrid vehicle systems such as a combination of an AUV with an acoustic or fiber-optic link to a surface ship or central control point. Specific tasks to be undertaken by the committee were as follows: Review and assess the status of vehicle system technology and development in the United States and foreign countries and assess military developments that have potential civilian applications. Identify and assess the needs for in situ oceanographic data and undersea work tasks that stem from specific engineering and scientific, national and international programs and goals; assess the role that undersea vehicle systems play in achieving these goals; and establish the required capabilities for vehicle systems. In the role assessment, identify unique functions and observations that can be enabled by the use of undersea vehicles that cannot be achieved by any other means and appraise the value of these unique capabilities for accomplishing national undersea missions. Compare the present state of vehicle technology, operational practice, and present research in relation to the national needs and the vehicle system capabilities that will be required to be responsive to those scientific and engineering needs. Identify costs of developing and operating vehicles and contrast these costs with other means of performing the same tasks. Recommend strategies for developing and applying undersea vehicle systems to enhance the efficient and economic means of acquiring data and performing undersea tasks, including recommendations for research and development. Provide guidance regarding the role of industry, academia, and government in fostering advances in vehicle system technology and its application. In establishing the types of vehicle platforms that it would assess, the committee determined that military submarines would be excluded, even if they were to be used for civilian missions. The bases for this judgment were that these platforms are designed for military missions, and civilian scientific operations are short-term secondary missions; they are owned and operated by the U.S. Department of Defense; and they are nuclear powered, thus requiring extensive and costly support systems. In short, military submarines are not vehicles used in industry, university, or other long-term, nondefense applications. The Navy's NR-1, although not designed as part of a weapons system, was also excluded from the scope of the assessment, except in cases where it might be useful in developing vehicle technology. Tourist submersibles, while a substantial industry, were also considered to be outside the scope of this study because their objective includes neither work tasks nor sensing and observation for science. This is a large commercial activity involving more than 1 million passengers per year. A 1990 NRC report (Safety of Tourist Submersibles) provides extensive, useful information on the technology of this sector of the submarine and submersibles industries. The committee reviewed capital and operating cost information about various types of vehicles and several alternative platforms for obtaining oceanographic data and working beneath the sea and determined that there was no satisfactory way to make cost comparisons, nor was sufficient cost information available. STUDY METHODS AND REPORT ORGANIZATION The committee met seven times during a three-year period beginning in October 1992. The committee received
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briefings from representatives of each of the sponsoring agencies in regard to their nonclassified development and interests in the application of undersea vehicles. Briefings concerning the state of practice and possible uses of vehicles in industry were given by experts in offshore oil and gas operations, undersea search and survey processes, and undersea telecommunications systems. Science objectives, involving data acquisition and work in the sea and on the seabed, were provided by leaders in chemical oceanography, marine biology, marine geology, atmospheric science and climatology, and physical oceanography. Vehicle development activities in universities and industry were identified and reviewed through presentations to the committee by research investigators, participation by committee members and staff at symposia held under the auspices of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the 1993 and 1995 conferences on underwater intervention sponsored by the Marine Technology Society and the Association of Diving Contractors. Following its first meeting in the information acquisition phase of the study, the committee organized itself into three panels: science applications, industry applications, and technology. These panels, which included experts in vehicle design and construction and in the oceanographic sciences, met individually on four occasions following committee meetings and in separate sessions. Chapter 1 of this report surveys challenges before the United States in understanding the processes within the sea and the sea-atmosphere system and in developing and managing ocean and seabed resources. The role of undersea vehicles as a tool for industry and science in meeting that challenge is also introduced in Chapter 1. Chapter 2 describes the technology of each type of undersea vehicle and reviews and assesses the state of development and practice for the principal vehicle system subsystems. Chapter 3 presents science and resource development objectives and needs in terms that relate to opportunities for application of various vehicle systems. Four "focal projects" illustrate the potential link between available vehicle technology and possible areas for development that would enable undersea vehicles to be responsive to the emerging national needs within the sea and on the seabed. Chapter 4 synthesizes the possibilities for technical improvements and the potential for advancing vehicle mission capabilities that will be most useful in enhancing and enabling scientific missions and industrial tasks undersea. Chapter 5 addresses the trends affecting the nation's ability to work and measure in the sea, the choices for implementing change, and the benefits or consequences that might be expected from action or the lack of action. The committee's recommendations for development, implementation of investment, and improvement of access to vehicle resources are summarized in the Executive Summary and detailed in Chapter 6. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS The committee wishes to express its thanks to the many individuals who contributed their time and energy to this project, whether by assisting the committee on its panels or through presentations, correspondence, and telephoned inputs. Representatives of the sponsoring federal agencies and industry, oceanographers, undersea vehicle operators, and vehicle designers all provided invaluable assistance. Particular appreciation goes to the liaison representatives of the project sponsors: Norman Caplan and Larry Clark, National Science Foundation; Marsh Youngbluth (until December 1993) and Al Kalvaitis of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Undersea Research Program; Keith Kaulum (until August 1994), Office of Naval Research; Lieutenant Commander George Billy (until August 1994) and Lieutenant Commander Edwin Lancaster, U.S. Navy Deep Submergence Office (N879); and Captain Alan Beam, Advanced Research Projects Agency of the U.S. Department of Defense (until December 1994). Other agencies and office representatives also participated in several meetings, including Donald Pryor of the National Ocean Service of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Richard Hayes, Office of the Oceanographer of the Navy. Special thanks are due to Don Walsh, International Maritime Incorporated, who served as Marine Board liaison to the committee until July 1994. As a consultant, he provided significant information from his long and extensive experience as a vehicle pilot and a manager of diving operations. Claude Brancart, Draper Laboratory, also provided assistance in the work of the committee, particularly in support of AUV technology assessment. Others who assisted the technology panel of the committee were Craig Mullen, Oceaneering Technologies, Inc.; and John Jacobson, Perry Tritech; both of whom provided insight into the development and application of ROVs. D. Richard Blidberg, Marine Systems Engineering Laboratory of Northeastern University, provided significant background information concerning the development of AUVs and their applications, stemming from his long experience in vehicle engineering education projects, research, development, and field testing during his directorship of the Unmanned Underwater Vehicle Laboratory at the University of New Hampshire. Lynne Carter, executive director, Center for Ocean Management Studies, University of Rhode Island, served as a consultant during the early formulation of the report and worked very effectively with the science panel of the committee in developing Chapter 3 of the report. William Schroeder, the University of Alabama, and William Sprigg, director, Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, NRC, assisted the committee through their contributions to the deliberations of the committee's science panel. The chairman wishes to recognize the members of the committee for their commitment of time and for their individual efforts in gathering information for the study, reviewing and assessing information, and preparing drafts.
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Contents EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 1 1 INTRODUCTION 7 Undersea Vehicles Defined, 8 Evolution of Undersea Vehicles since the 1950s, 12 U.S. Trends in Undersea Vehicle Development and Use, 15 Foreign Programs, 16 Findings, 16 References, 17 2 UNDERSEA VEHICLE CAPABILITIES AND TECHNOLOGIES 18 Vehicle Systems, 18 Deep Submersible Vehicles, 19 Remotely Operated Vehicles, 20 Autonomous Underwater Vehicles, 21 Operational Attributes of Vehicle Systems, 24 Evaluation of the State of Technology, 25 Systems Integration, 40 Technology Transfer from Other Industries and Technical Fields, 41 Findings, 42 References, 43 3 VITAL NATIONAL NEEDS 47 Scientific Understanding and Applications, 47 Living Resources and Environmental Management, 55 Marine Industrial Activities, 59 National Security, Public Safety, and Regulation, 66 Findings, 67 References, 68 4 PRIORITIES FOR FUTURE DEVELOPMENT 70 Important Needs and Opportunities, 70 Setting Priorities for Undersea Vehicle Development, 71 Findings, 74
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5 ENHANCING THE NATION'S CAPACITY FOR UNDERSEA WORK AND RESEARCH 76 Need for a Strategic Approach, 76 Trends and Policy Alternatives, 78 Findings, 81 References, 81 6 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 82 APPENDICES A Biographical Sketches of Committee Members 87 B Foreign Developments 90 C Development of Deep Submersible Vehicles in the United States: 1958–1994 93 D U.S. Government Agencies That Own and/or Use Submersibles 95 E Deep Submersible Vehicles in Service or Available Worldwide 96 ACRONYMS 99
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List of Boxes, Figures, and Tables BOXES 2-1 AUV Example: AUSS, 22 2-2 AUV Example: Odyssey, 23 2-3 AUV Example: ABE, 24 3-1 Focal Project 1: Synoptic Observation System, 52 3-2 Focal Project 2: Blue Water Oceanographic Sections and Hydrographic Surveys, 56 3-3 Focal Project 3: Subsea Oil Field Inspection and Intervention, 62 3-4 Focal Project 4: Search and Survey, 64 FIGURES 1-1 Photo of Alvin, 9 1-2 Photo of Deep Rover, 9 1-3 Photo of Phantom, 10 1-4 Photo of Triton 19, 10 1-5 Photo of Ventana, 10 1-6 Photo of UUV II, 11 1-7 Photo of autonomous benthic explorer (ABE), 11 1-8 Photo of Theseus, 11 1-9 Photo of Odyssey I, 12 1-10 Photo of Johnson Sea-Link, 13 1-11 Photo of Shinkai, 14 1-12 Photo of Kaiko, 15 2-1 Schematic diagram of vehicle systems, 19 2-2 Battery cell comparisons, 28 TABLES 2-1 Comparative Undersea Vehicle Capabilities, 20 2-2 Current Undersea Vehicle Capabilities, 25 2-3 Performance Characteristics of Available Energy Sources, 27 2-4 Technology Transfer, 41 3-1 Focal Projects: Responses to National Needs, 48 4-1 Technology Assessment Summary by Subsystem, 71
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