U.S. Navy Eyes Technology To Cloak Subs

Source: Aviation Week

The U.S. Navy is investing in research that could make its submarines even stealthier with cloaking technology that seems to come straight out of a Tom Clancy thriller or a Star Trek movie script.

Developed by New York-based Weidlinger Associates with U.S. Navy Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) funding, the technology involves the carving up and altering of aluminum to give it “elastic properties”—a form of what the company calls “metal water,” says Jeffrey Cipolla, a Weidlinger senior associate and principal investigator.

Defense analysts say the technology could be a real game-changer for undersea warfare, a lethal hide-and-seek battle in the depths. Any type of system that makes it easier to hide and more difficult to seek would provide a real advantage.

Submarine warfare is all about acoustics—and while quieter submarines have long enjoyed the upper hand, detection technologies are now on the advance.

The new technology being developed, the company says, will allow the Navy to deploy underwater systems with reduced radiated noise signatures, smaller active sonar signatures and less vulnerability to multistatic surveillance systems.

The underwater acoustic-evading technology for submarines and unmanned undersea vehicles, or UUVs, now in SBIR Phase II development, creates a coating that features broadband passive waveguides, which redirect acoustic energy around an object, “rendering it nearly undetectable” to active Sonar, the company says.

Current acoustic coating technology falls into two categories: “decouplers,” intended to create a large mismatch between hull and water and thereby suppress radiated noise; and “absorbers,” which are designed to absorb incident sonar pings.

Read more: Aviation Week

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