Page 42 - Australian Defence Magazine Aug 2019
P. 42

The patchwork of finishes seen on the Collins is due to a number of coatings and materials in use.
engineering, science and technology inter- ests of UK naval defence, to produce some blue-sky concepts involving new technology.
The primary concept of the UKNEST team was the Nautilus 100 mothership, a design sporting a whale shark mouth and a manta ray body to enhance speed and stealth.
The 3D printed acrylic hull would be bonded to super-strong alloys to withstand depths of more than 1,000 metres. For ad- ditional stealth the Nautilus would have a skin of anechoic, nanometer-thin graphene scales bonded with a piezoelectric mate- rial to enable real-time adjustments and dy- namic controls.
Thanks to advanced autonomous sys- tems and “neuro-interfacing” allowing control by thought, the submarine would only need a crew of about 20. Steering and depth control would be by means of flex- ible wingtips able to alter their shape like a living fish.
Hybrid algae-electric propulsion would power stealth cruising at 30 knots, while Casimir-effect force batteries using an advanced quantum effect to store energy
would provide large amounts of power for short speed bursts of up to 150 knots.
These would be facilitated by the ability of the Nautilus to encapsulate itself in a super- cavitating air bubble created by lasers on the leading edge of the mothership that would boil the water ahead of it while outlets stabilised and directed the flow over the hull.
Although the Nautilus
would be equipped with tor-
pedoes for defence, its main ar-
mament would be Flying Fish
drones with wings doubling as
fins, and propelled by a combi-
nation of microturbines and plasma batteries.
This design would enable the Flying Fish to dive immediately it detected radar or to fly just above the sea surface when it detect- ed active sonar. Payloads would range from conventional explosives, cluster warheads and shockwave emitters, to electromagnetic pulse (EMP) weapons.
Implausible, impractical, fantasy – pos- sibly. Yet it’s worth remembering the ad- vances in technology that have flowed since the launch of the USS Nautilus, the world’s first nuclear-powered submarine, just 65 years ago. The world of science fiction is quickly becoming more viable as technol- ogy progresses.
Sonar Systems Torpedo Defence Sonobuoys Tactical Data Links Electronic Warfare
42 | August 2019 |

   40   41   42   43   44