Program funding is not sufficient to offset the evolving S&T available to potential enemies. In particular, basic research funding (Department of Defense budget category 6.1) is much too small.
Because they must function in a challenging undersea environment, undersea weapons involve special technologies, adaptations of other technologies, and unique integration of all these technologies. There is in the United States no sustained non-Navy support for this type of effort.
The U.S. Navy must make a greater effort to provide leadership in undersea weapons research and development if it wishes to match the activity and capability of other nations.
The knowledge-base pipeline is adequate to support the current program, although undersea weapons research is not viewed as a particularly attractive career path. However, this pipeline would be hard pressed to support the level of activity required for the development of next-generation weapon systems, which will be increasingly sophisticated in virtually all the critical technology areas.
Facilities and equipment are not in short supply, although distributed simulation facilities in greater numbers and capability will be needed.
The integration of the ONR undersea weapons S&T program with torpedo programs in higher-order budget categories is too tight. Basic and applied research that could lead to revolutionary weapons efforts is being neglected.
In answer to the first key question in the terms of reference, which asked what technologies are needed but are not being developed by the ONR undersea weapons S&T program, the committee offers the following judgments:
The current approach to effectively confronting submarines in the littoral environment is not founded on a complete analysis and a good understanding of the physics of the problem, and it needs attention at the most basic level. Within the ONR undersea weapons S&T program, support for the underlying S&T is minimal.
Deployable, distributed sensor arrays are a promising technology that needs to be built upon, as does related work in data fusion and undersea communications.
Undersea weapons signal processing applications of fiber-optic bandwidth need to be exploited.
Unmanned underwater vehicles and small manned underwater vehicles could be employed by naval forces as semiautonomous, long-endurance hunter/killers and reconnaissance vehicles.
Alternative prime power concepts (e.g., hybrid advanced electric and internal combustion systems) that might be applicable to weapon-carrying and reconnaissance undersea vehicles need to be part of the exploratory program.
Within the ONR undersea weapons S&T program, the committee received no indication of program activity in short-action-time, rocket-propelled, air- or surface-delivered undersea weapons.
The committee did not note any programs based on other than traditional torpedo concepts.
There is a need for the disciplined use of operations and systems analysis as a means to evaluate, quantify, and guide program decisions.
In answer to the second key question in the terms of reference, namely, the extent to which undersea weapons S&T depends on Navy-sponsored research and development (R&D), the committee believes that the U.S. Navy bears the main responsibility for such S&T because undersea weapons must function in a challenging undersea environment and they involve special technologies, adaptations of other technologies, and unique integration of all these technologies. There is in the United States no sustained support for this type of effort outside the Navy.