• The situation with the Army and the Department of Energy is not markedly different from that with the other agencies, but the impact of these two entities has historically been smaller.

In summary, the Department of the Navy no longer can depend on complementary and leveraged national efforts to significantly support its unique requirements in naval hydromechanics research and technology. It must develop a strategy and sustainable investment plan to independently ensure its future technology and design capabilities in this area.


There is a growing requirement for greater stealth, speed, and littoral operations capabilities for planned and future naval surface and subsurface vehicles as well as underwater weapons and sensor platforms. The concepts driven by these requirements will place unprecedented demands on Department of the Navy S&T. Concepts such as Sleek Ship are challenges because the required hull/propulsor system is outside the traditional database used by naval architects, and the geometry and fluid dynamics are complex. As ship signature becomes a higher design priority, the traditional database becomes inadequate. A combination of innovative experiments, computational fluid dynamics, and at-sea measurement programs applied by skilled experts will be the most efficient means by which to establish a new, preliminary database.

Naval hydromechanics is vital to the body of knowledge required for speed, endurance, stealth, maneuverability, and safety issues, with applications for ships, submarines, exotic vehicles, hydroballistics, detection, platforms, tracking, and harbors. This field of fluid science is characterized by several unique factors that are discussed in detail in earlier sections of this report. In his white paper, Marshall P. Tulin provides an excellent overview of the history of these unique requirements and of ONR's role in naval hydromechanics, along with an expert perspective on both past accomplishments and future prospects.4 He reminds us that many of the theoretical and analytical techniques that proved so valuable in early developments in aeronautics had their foundations in earlier research and discoveries in hydromechanics.

The Department of the Navy cannot depend on other agencies or the shipbuilding industry to provide these capabilities. Naval hydromechanics is the special purview of naval research, and it is ONR's responsibility to support fundamental research in this area. To achieve the kinds of successes described in this report (and in the supporting material), the Department of the Navy must renew its reservoir of basic knowledge and expertise in naval hydromechanics, which is vital to its long-term interests.


Tulin, Marshall P. 1999. “Naval Hydrodynamics: Perspectives and Prospects.” Santa Barbara, Calif: Ocean Engineering Laboratory, University of California. September 14.

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement