systems and optical systems configured for side-scan and wide-swath mapping. Other technologies for object surveillance, location, and identification use monochromatic laser-line scanners, synthetic aperture sonar, and magnetic anomaly detection to identify mine-like objects.
Research into increasing efficiency in the work environment includes underwater light propagation and miniaturization of acoustic sensors for hand-held units. Underwater life-support systems under development include self-contained breathing apparatus and rebreathing systems. Work systems currently used in the underwater workplace may be improved with research into fiber-optic lines for high-bandwidth data transmission, special couplers and optical signal processors for undersea use, and diver work tools that are powered by seawater and are resistant to corrosion and contamination.
ONR is developing high-speed data communications for autonomous vehicle and other undersea naval applications and small, efficient undersea power sources. Real-time feedback control systems that adapt both to a changing environment and to knowledge “learned” in real time will provide efficient use of resources and immediate data collection.
Simulators that operate in tandem over networks are in use for training and for design performance evaluation of new concepts. As simulations become more complex and the amount of required common information grows for linked simulations (e.g., background weather linked to a navigational simulator), the need for standards of intersimulator control becomes more critical. Increasingly accurate and fast replication of complex situations in “virtual environments,” possibly by linked simulators, will provide a basis for comprehensive training and mission rehearsal in the future.
This technology could be of value to any company interested in underwater construction and repair (e.g., oil and gas platform construction, shipbuilding, submersible development). ONR has made no formal effort to inform these industries of the opportunities for technology transfer and the benefits it represents. The committee concluded, based on the considerable list of technological developments provided by ONR staff (Appendix D) and the apparent lack of involvement of marine industry representatives with ONR, that the amount of technology available far outweighs the amount successfully transferred.
The annual costs to the Navy for biological fouling and corrosion are $1 billion and $2 billion, respectively. To combat these two problems, ONR sponsors research on corrosion- and fouling-resistant coatings at NRL and several research universities. Many such coatings developed at NRL have recently seen wider use by the fleet. This trend should continue, especially given the increasing environmental restrictions on the use of certain, more traditional, coatings and coating solvents that may contain organotin compounds, chromates, or lead.