DARPA's Upward Falling Payload Like Leinster's Wabbler

The Upward Falling Payloads program's concept centers on developing deployable, unmanned, distributed systems that lie on the deep-ocean floor in special containers for years at a time. These deep-sea nodes would then be woken up remotely when needed and recalled to the surface. In other words, they “fall upward.”

And yes, it's a DARPA program. One which was anticipated over seventy years ago by science fiction.


(A DARPA Upward Falling Payloads-view of the surface)

Cost and complexity limit the number of ships and weapon systems the Navy can support in forward operating areas. This concentration of force structure is magnified as areas of contested environments grow. A natural response is to develop lower-cost unmanned and distributed systems that can deliver effects and situation awareness at a distance. However, power and logistics to deliver these systems over vast ocean areas limit their utility. The Upward Falling Payload (UFP) program intends to overcome these barriers.

UFP will realize a new approach to enable forward deployed unmanned distributed systems that can provide non-lethal effects or situation awareness over large maritime areas. However, the intended approach averts solutions to deploy technology from legacy platforms, or grow the complexity and reach of unmanned systems. Rather, the UFP approach centers on pre-deploying deep-ocean nodes years in advance in forward areas which can be commanded from standoff to launch to the surface. Nearly 50% of the world’s oceans are deeper than 4 km which provides a vast area for concealment and storage. As a consequence, the cost to retrieve UFP nodes is asymmetric with the likely cost to produce and distribute them on the seafloor. The concealment of the sea also provides opportunity to surprise maritime targets from below, while its vastness provides opportunity to simultaneously operate across great distances. Getting close to targets without warning, and instantiating distributed systems without delay, are key attributes of UFP capability.

To succeed, the UFP program must be able to demonstrate a system that can: (a) Survive for years under extreme pressure, (b) Reliably be triggered from standoff commands, and (c) Rapidly rise through the water column and deploy a non-lethal payload. Section 1.2, and the limited distribution Metrics Addendum, quantify capability metrics. A multi-phase program is envisioned to design, develop, and demonstrate UFP nodes that overcome these hurdles.

Murray Leinster wrote about a very similar device, an autonomous robotic underwater munition, in his 1942 short story The Wabbler:

...The Wabbler lay in its place, with its ten foot tail coiled neatly above its lower end, and waited with a sort of deadly patience... It and all its brothers were pear-shaped, with absurdly huge and blunt-ended horns, and with small round holes where eyes might have been, and shielded vents where they might have had mouths...

Splash! The Wabbler plunged into the water with a flare of luminescence and a thirty-foot spout of spume and spray rising where it struck... It dived swiftly for twenty feet... Then its falling checked. It swung about, and its writhing tail settled down below it... and then slowly, it settled downward. Its ten-foot tail seemed to waver a little, as if groping.

Then it made small sounds from inside itself. More bubbles came from the round place like a mouth. It settled one foot, two feet, three...
(Read more about Leinster's Wabbler)

From Upward Falling Payloads (UFP) solicitation (pdf).

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 1/15/2013)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Weapon ")

Railguns For Surface Ships
'It was simply a long solenoid that threw little steel bullets...' - John W. Campbell, 1933.

DIY Armed UAV (Toy)
'Each a television eye and a sonic stunner...' - Larry Niven, 1972.

Taser Drones Now Legal In North Dakota
'I sent my eyes on their rounds and tended my gallery of one hundred-thirty changing pictures...' - Roger Zelazny, 1966.

HEL MD Laser Weapons Will Sound Like Star Wars, Star Trek
Considering how important the film's sound track is, the sounds of Star Wars weapons are not described in the original novel.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Matrix Sentinel Ancestor, The Pipe Inspector Robot From Krakow
Watch out, Keanu!

Auto-Focus Smart Glasses Have Liquid Lenses
'Hufhuf oil held in static tension by an enclosing force field within a viewing tube...'

Robotic Physician Assistant Has Steady 'Hands'
'You turned the screws below and the prongs moved... with caliper slowness, minuteness and precision.'

Roboy 3DPrinted Humanoid Robot
'A robot child that would be reared within the bosom of a human family...'

Robird Flapping Wing Drones Keep Airports Safe
'Mitch heard a rasping, flacketing buzz, like a big insect...'

3D Printed Fashion - Plastirobes And Transdresses
'... dial a new fashion every day!'

Robotic Lawn Mower Powered By Sun, Arduino
'The mower reached the edge of the lawn, clucked to itself like a contented hen...'

Google Perfects 'Blade Runner-style' Photo Details
'Pull back... stop... enhance 57-19...'

Pokerbot Libratus Learns To Lie (Bluff)
'Lying's a vital part of your psychological defense system - you're naked without it!'

Otto Autonomous Robot Trucks Run Into... Legal Snag
'They were automatic trucks such as are used for making deliveries...'

Tiny Drones With Sticky Feet Pollinate Flowers Now
'The Scarab rubbed its hind legs together...'

ThreeForm 3D Scans And Digitally Simulates Customer Fashion
'...A miracle of misapplied engineering caused his own face to appear on the illustrated figures dressed in trooper red.'

CloudFisher - Moroccan Fog Farmers Harvest Moisture From The Air
'That moisture trickles down...'

Piaggio Gita Personal Robot Porter
'Carry his bag... and follow him faithfully...'

Ardu McDuino, Bagpipe Robot
'Rollo sat at the keyboard, prim, inhuman, rigid, twin lenses focused...'

Not Quite Self-Replicating Robots, Franka Emika
'... it shares with mankind the ability to propagate.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.