Wednesday 17 December 2014

Why Eel Drones Are the Future of Naval Warfare

Eel _Drones
Eel Drones – Underwater Reconnaissance

The U.S. Navy comprehends the importance of developing updated technology to keep up as well as ahead of other countries and according to recent reports it indicates that at least twelve countries have focused their resources and energy on autonomous underwater vehicles.

It is looking into Eel drones for underwater reconnaissance and/or attack which probably this tech had been around since the 50s though it is now making some progress in several countries which include the US while Russia had begun to explore the capabilities of undersea Eel drone in order to protect battleships and any underwater attack for divers.

The Eel design has been chosen since it has an ideal shape with the capacity to conserve the most energy as well as being undetectable. Aerial drones tend to be an important part of U.S. military strategy and looks more like an aircraft rather than an owl, butterflies or birds. Recently a robotic eel design prototype was debuted by a team of researchers from Singapore led by Jianxin Xu which could signal the future of undersea warfare.

Navy Drone – Slocum Glider 

Presently the most well-known Navy drone is the Slocum Glider from a company – Teledyne Benthos, which received over $200 million this year to develop further, the Glider for the Navy and Xu debates that the Glider, an inflexible torpedo drone leaves much to be desired as well as that nature has provided them with a better design.According to Xu who informed `Defense One’, he states that `Anguilliform’, an eel like fish utilises less energy on a long distance journey than a regular autonomous underwater vehicle. He comments that they are highly manoeuvrable as well as flexible, which makes them more appropriate than Gliders for navigating small spaces.

 Moreover the noiseless propulsion is an added advantage for the military and is less detectable than robot subs which propel themselves like conventional subs. Anguilliform locomotion is derived from the Latin word anguilla for eel which involves wide undulation in the body and is also common to sharks. Due to anguilliform movement, undulation takes the form of a wave which moves down the length of the body of the animal and pushes the water away, from side to side. Research for many years speculating in fluid dynamics, considered thunniform to be faster as well as efficient though recent research disagreed on this issue.

Eel Bots – Less Guidance/Operation 

Eel bots can explore and navigate reefs which tend to be difficult, hulls and undersea geological formations the way other fish are unable to do so. Xu states that the future prototype of his robot would need less guidance for operation and can self-navigate amidst difficult or dark crawl spaces resulting in less operators presiding over robots and make it more cost efficient for the Navy. Its most attractive feature is it adaptability and with the same undulating movement which propels it through the water, can also move forward on land too.

The Pentagon office of Naval Research had provided funds for project and research across the country for the sole purpose of developing UUVs for their military and these underwater drones would probably be used for underwater surveillance purpose like search and rescue operations, attacks on small boats and divers, checking for mines, mapping the sea floor as well as weather data collection. These drones could be powered by hydrogen which would help them in never running out of fuel.

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