Relevance of UMS for Below the Surface (BTS) Tasks
Academia and industry continue to advance the state of technology in sensors, sensor processing, precision navigation, communications, automatic target recognition (ATR), autonomy, energy, and electronics and to integrate them into in a growing family of Unmanned Maritime Systems (UMS). As new material solutions emerge, increasing demands for broader applications of UMS for scientific, commercial and military uses are materializing. This brief will highlight the presenter’s perspectives on the most challenging technical and operational aspects associated with transition of UMS from proven concept to successfully fielded, sustainable capabilities in end-user organizations and activities. The presentation will provide a short background, based on lessons learned and observations from the presenter’s unmanned undersea vehicle (UUV) systems acquisition experience in one area of U.S. Navy applications for UMS involving naval mine countermeasures, maritime homeland defense, and port clearance ‘below-the-surface’ tasks. A summary of the most significant barriers to successful transition from proof of concept to future capabilities is provided. Finally, some thoughts are offered for consideration by technology developers and demonstrators on future investment and acquisition priorities and strategies as they relate to future UMS capabilities.