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 applications of fiber-optic bandwidth need to be exploited.
UUVs 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 R&D, the committee believes that undersea weapons involve the development of special technologies, adaptation of these and other technologies to the undersea environment, and unique integrations of all these technologies into a weapon. In the United States the only sustained support for these kinds of efforts to develop and produce undersea weapons comes from the U.S. Navy.