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An Assessment of Naval Hydromechanics Science and Technology
include shore-launched cruise missiles, diesel submarines, mines, missile boats, and torpedoes. Because of this, the Navy has placed new signature reduction requirements on new platforms such as DD 21 and the New Attack Submarine (Virginia class). These signature reduction design requirements are being set in all signature categories: acoustic, radar, magnetic, visual, and infrared. It is anticipated that all future platforms will be assigned signature reduction requirements more stringent than their predecessors.
The variety of threats and the budgetary restrictions suggest a rethinking of weapon characteristics as well. If capable sensors can be married to high-performance weapons, then ship characteristics can be matched to the resulting performance. For some scenarios, high-speed weapons launched from a stealthy platform can result in the most cost-effective total system. For the hydrodynamicist and hydroacoustician, the stringent future requirements for platform stealth and weapon speed will provide S&T challenges for the next decade.
RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
The paradigm for engineering design and system development is changing. Throughout most of the twentieth century, the development of complex systems, including warships, was based on a limited amount of relatively simple analysis and a large amount of prototype testing. Over the past decade there has been a significant shift to much more analysis, computation, and physics-based simulation of different system alternatives prior to fabrication and physical testing. The prime enabler of this shift has been advances in computation technology. The benefits are shorter design time, reduced testing costs, and better products, as exemplified by the Boeing 777. This new approach to engineering design and system development will significantly alter the way that naval platforms and weapons are developed in the future.
There have also been changes in the nature of academic programs and research. Programs aimed at specific industries and systems, such as railroads, automobiles, electric power, and ships, have largely been phased out. The needs of those industries for engineers are now largely met by graduates of broader programs, such as mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, electrical engineering, and computer science, working together in multidisciplinary teams. The funding for university research has also undergone a shift that emphasizes multidisciplinary team research rather than focused, fundamental work by individual faculty. This has made it increasingly difficult for experts in fields of special interest to the Department of the Navy to maintain their more specialized research programs.
PROGRAM FUNDING AND FUNDING TRENDS
Table 2.1 and Figure 2.1 show naval hydromechanics funding from FY94 to FY99. Data provided by ONR show that both 6.1 and 6.2 funding levels in hydromechanics at ONR have been in overall decline since at least FY94. This decline probably extends further back in time and is consistent with the overall decline in government support for basic and applied engineering research. Except for FY99, no funding was allocated to 6.3 hydromechanics.
In constant FY99 dollars, category 6.1 core funding has declined by 47 percent since FY94, with a maximum reduction of 50 percent in FY98. Overall 6.1 funding approximately doubled from FY98 to FY99, but 86 percent of that growth came from one-year funds directed at short-term applications. The long-range core funding picture is hardly affected by this one-time infusion. Category 6.2 funds are 181 percent above their FY94 levels in constant FY99 dollars, after a low in FY96 of 35 percent below FY94 levels. However, about one-half of the growth in FY99 is a one-time infusion, similar to the 6.1 case.