The U.S. Navy's 2017

By The Maritime Executive 01-01-2018 09:15:06

For America’s Navy, 2017 included the commissioning of a new class of aircraft carriers – the Ford class led by USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), sailors’ making the ultimate sacrifice for their nation and America’s Navy answering the call following disasters at home and abroad.

It was also a time for technology development, and The Maritime Executive takes a look at some of the highlights:

U.S. Navy Developing Hagfish Slime Defenses

01/24/2017: A team of U.S. Navy scientists and engineers is synthesizing the slime exuded by hagfish with the aim of using it for ballistics protection, firefighting, anti-fouling, diver protection or anti-shark spray.

Biochemist Dr Josh Kogot and materials engineer Dr Ryan Kincer of Naval Surface Warfare Center, Panama City Division, have produced a synthetic component of hagfish slime in Escherichia coli bacteria.

Pacific hagfish, also known as slime eels, are bottom-dwelling scavengers which live on the ocean floor. They can secrete slime to protect themselves by obstructing the gills of predators which come into contact with the slime. More...

U.S. Navy to Field Shipborne Laser Weapons by 2020

03/08/2017: The U.S. Navy is moving ahead with plans to field a powerful new shipborne laser weapons system on a rapid timeline, with first operational availability expected by 2020. 

The Navy's Program Executive Office for Integrated Warfare Systems has called for expressions of interest in what it calls the SEASABER Increment 1 Laser Weapons System, a 60 kW-plus laser that would be fielded on an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer. 

At a panel at the Navy's Surface Naval Association symposium in January, Rear Adm. Ronald Boxall, the director of the Surface Warfare Division, said that he expects the service to test a 150 kW laser within about a year. He said that the device would be installed on a carrier or a destroyer within another year. More...

U.S. Navy Opens New Information Warfare Center

03/30/2017: The U.S. Navy has launched a new center for the development of information warfare tactics for forces at sea and on shore. The commander of Naval Information Forces (NAVIFOR), Rear Adm. Matthew Kohler, announced Monday that the U.S. Naval Information Warfighting Development Center (NIWDC) in Norfolk has reached initial operational capability, and will be fully running by April 2019. 

“The establishment of the Naval Information Warfighting Development Center is a significant step forward for Information Warfare and Navy warfighting,” said Kohler. “Among other capabilities, NIWDC will deliver advanced Information Warfare training; tactics, techniques and procedures; as well as Information Warfare tactics instructors. Above all, it will be a place for innovation." More...

U.S. Navy Tests New Submarine Steam Suit

04/11/2017: A prototype steam suit has been tested at the Naval Submarine Base New London in the U.S., with the tests demonstrating it is much quicker to put on that earlier suits. 

If pressurized steam lines on board a submarine rupture, they can leak steam at extremely high temperatures, potentially resulting in severe injury or death. To make emergency repairs or rescue crewmates, Sailors must wear protective suits.

Sponsored by the Office of Naval Research’s (ONR) TechSolutions Program, the new suit was developed by the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) and Navy Clothing and Textile Research Facility (NCTRF). More...

U.S. Navy Looks to Blockchain Revolution

06/26/2017: The U.S. Navy has revealed plans to trial blockchain technology to bring added security to its manufacturing systems.

The Navy said it will apply the technology to its processes for additive manufacturing – known more popularly as 3-D printing – in a bid to "securely share data throughout the manufacturing process" as it creates critical equipment for deployed forces.

Led by the Naval Innovation Advisory Council, the trial will use blockchain technology to create a data-sharing layer between the Navy's various 3-D printing sites over the summer, with a report on its proof-of-concept effort due this autumn. More...

U.S. Navy Researchers 3D-Print a Small Submarine

07/31/2017: A team of researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Navy have created the military’s first 3D-printed submarine, an achievement that may have the potential to accelerate the defense R&D process. 

The sub – called the Optionally Manned Technology Demonstrator – is a 30-foot submersible made of thermoplastic resin, and it closely resembles the covert infiltration mini-subs used by the Navy SEALs. The hulls for these subs currently take three to five months to build and about $600-800,000 each. But the Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock Division's Disruptive Technology Laboratory (DTL) partnered with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ONRL) to bring down the expense: using ORNL's Big Area Additive Manufacturing facility, they printed the hull in six sections at a cost in the tens of thousands. A contractor assembled the sections into the final product. The whole process took weeks rather than months. More...

U.S. Navy Strengthens University Ties

08/01/2017: The U.S. Navy is teaming up with the University of Rhode Island and the University of Connecticut to provide a new opportunity for engineering undergraduates considering careers in the Navy and undersea engineering.

The universities have won a three-year, $1.3 million grant from the Office of Naval Research to develop programs aimed at expanding the Navy science and technology workforce.

Southern New England – in particular, Rhode Island and Connecticut – is a critical region for the Navy. The area is the primary supplier of naval submarines and has some 600 firms that provide parts for the submarine fleet. More...