Conclusion 3. To be more forward-looking, greater S&T emphasis at a fundamental (6.1/6.2) level is needed within the ONR undersea weapons effort.
Recommendation 3. ONR should increase undersea weapons S&T funding sufficiently to satisfy Future Naval Capability goals while ensuring that longer-range, higher-risk/higher-payoff alternative S&T is also enabled. This investment in future systems must be protected against raids to bail out near-term projects.
Finding 4. While some of the items covered in the present program, which is focused on upgrades of existing torpedoes, may also be useful in future weapons systems (e.g., propulsion units and warheads), long-range exploration for fundamentally new undersea weapons concepts and missions is needed.
Conclusion 4. Innovation beyond current undersea weapons concepts and missions is needed for a healthy S&T program. S&T should be pursued toward torpedoes operating with sensor arrays, unmanned and manned undersea vehicles (attack, reconnaissance, and so forth), and sophisticated mines, and toward achievement of short-action-time air-delivered undersea weapons systems. In the future, undersea weapons systems will be driven increasingly by overall architecture that will demand much more interdisciplinary coordination than was seen by the committee in the course of its study.
Recommendation 4. ONR should take a broader and longer-range view of undersea weapons systems, specifically those not limited to torpedoes and beyond the 5-year horizon. Some such concepts are being explored in other ONR undersea technology activities and in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and should be considered.