Crest of the Royal National Institution of Naval Architects - Click to return to the homepage

RINA-Banner-20th-May

Air Products_March 2021

Autoship

DARPA kick-starts studies for long-endurance USV

Warship Technology eNews January 2021WT Jan21 DARPA kick-starts

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency in the US has awarded contracts to industry teams to examine innovative concepts for a long-endurance uncrewed vessels.

 

Most uncrewed vessel concepts proposed to date are derived from manned vessels and share many of the naval architectural features of a manned vessel.

 

But without a crew onboard, argues the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), a space has opened up for much more novel concepts and hullforms, concepts it hopes to examine in its No Manning Required Ship (NOMARS) programme, for which a total of seven contracts were let in late November 2020.

 

According to DARPA, the aim of the NOMARS programme is to kick-start “trade space analysis and conceptual design” for long-endurance USVs. The implication is that without personnel on board, long-endurance USVs could be optimised in ways that are not possible with first-generation designs derived from manned vessels.

 

DARPA has awarded seven contracts for work on Phase 1 of NOMARS, which seeks to simultaneously explore two competing objectives related to unmanned surface vessels. The first is USV design and the maximization of sea frame performance when human constraints are removed; the second is achieving sufficient vessel maintenance and logistics functionality for long-endurance operations with no human crew onboard.

 

“NOMARS aims to disrupt conventional naval architecture designs through creative trade space explorations that optimize useable onboard room considering a variety of constraints,” said DARPA announcing the contracts.

 

“This should pave the way for more capable, affordable small warships that can be procured and maintained in large numbers.”