Last week at the Sea Air Spase convention was presented the model of the future submarine hunter to mine, made by General Dynamics. According to the firm, the project with the title Knifefish (the common title of several species of fish) by the end of this year will reach the trial stage, and the assembly of prototypes of unmanned submarines already begun. Now plans for a military command and the developer is listed equipping each ship LCS project with 2 subs and complex controls. Start Knifefish the series so far is scheduled for 2015, but no one is hiding that timing can share.
Structurally boat-UAV Knifefish is some semblance of a standard 533-mm torpedo (21 inch diameter). Hull length of about 5.8 meters. As can be seen from the materials available, the overall structure of the design of unmanned boats generally similar design torpedoes — propeller and rudders in the back and no protruding parts on the body. From this we can conclude that the launch Knifefish will run from torpedo tubes. But there is information that General Dynamics is also working on a special starter. If this is true, then maybe this device will be in some measure similar to the existing torpedo tubes. In addition, it may be provided to descend into the water with a crane or similar installation.
Once in the water, Knifefish will be able to move at a speed of 20-25 knots for 16 hours. Type of power plant unmanned submarine is not named. But the duration of the declared patrols can draw conclusions about electronic propulsion system. At least, can hardly be fit into contours torpedo power plant another type of supplies of fuel for so long movement.
Management underwater drone may be a 2-modes. First, he specifically controlled ship carrier. 2nd — on a boat in the electronics boats entered the required information, and it is without the help of others in the search area, where the same without the help of other searches min. And specifically search engine is a fascinating part of the complex. It is alleged that the search for the set of sea mines Knifefish will use sonar, operating at low frequencies. It is interesting that the emission signal occurs at several frequencies at once, because mine detection occurs with similar efficiency in all available distances. In conjunction with the recognition of the grenades applets on the configuration of the reflected sound it allows you to not only get to know the position of mines with sufficient accuracy, and advance to determine the best method to neutralize / liquidation.
At the same time, Knifefish is a means of detection. Unmanned submarine has no means of self-destruction to find the min. The premise of this are ordinary: a housing unit is not large enough to accommodate the respective equipment, and even a mine explosion in the distance bolshennom can destroy very expensive equipment. Because the passages in the minefield will be made only after the return to the ship Knifefish carrier. Certainly, from the same judgment today in the project is not provided the capacity to transmit a signal about the search for the ship — that the mine did not work on the radio. To deliver the collected disk imaging on a ship boat armed with a block of memory with a capacity of 12 terabytes. Knifefish will record the signal from the sonar sensor data synchronized with the GPS, which will allow the operator to set comparable to rapidly and simply make the survey data vsepolnotsennuyu map minefields.
In the future, can be equipped boat-drone equipment for the transmission of data in real-time. This should significantly accelerate the demining work, although a certain risk. At the same time, the customer in the face of the U.S. Navy is not sure what particular method of delivery is disk imaging it is more comfortable. Do not add clarity to the prospect Knifefish and the fact that he does not fully understand what to do ship-at the carrier time, when the boat is doing patrol and search for mines. Movements in order to hinder its detection is associated with the risk of being in the water because of mines. Remain in place, in turn, is dangerous because of the likely implementation of anti-money opponent. Also search obstacles for up to 16 hours, if we add to it the time to process the data and create a map, and then to transfer data minesweeper, results in a very long time to respond.
The project is now Knifefish just preparing to go to the stage of testing, and in addition, there are a lot of questions about its practical necessity. At the same time, representatives of the U.S. Navy and General Dynamics company has at the moment say that this project is certainly useful. Even if it does not make a real apparatus Search for sea mines on its base in the future may be created a whole family of underwater drones for various purposes. The main advantage of this platform will be to conform with torpedo tubes, and as a consequence, in the absence of the need to refine the design of the carrier ship. Such "descendants" Knifefish will be able to actually be based on all the ships. As for the subs, there are certain doubts run 533-mm torpedo boat of not so difficult, but how to take them back on board? All the same, and as a hunter of mine Knifefish has a tremendous future, the main thing — to bring the project to mind.
According to the materials of websites: