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 ")

XM82 Personal Flamethrower Now In Development
'Skeletons in tatters. Burned by a flesh gun'- Alfred Bester, 1974.

Squad X Core Technologies For Infantry
'You can flip through your several types of radar displays quicker than you can change channels to avoid a commercial...'- Robert Heinlein, 1959.

EXACTO Bullets Change Course In Mid-Air
'This little weapon ejects a rather ingenious missile...'- Philip E. High, 1966.

US Navy Laser Ready For Use
Fifty years from cartoon to reality. Thanks to a lot of engineers and visionaries.

 

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

eMotionButterfly Ultralight Robot From Festo
'Artificial butterflies darted along invisible beams...'

Graphene Cytobot - Cyborg Bacterial Spores May Help Astronauts
'[It] had not yet objected to being made over into a portion of an electronic system... '

XM82 Personal Flamethrower Now In Development
'Skeletons in tatters. Burned by a flesh gun'

Delightful Plen2 Mirror Robot - The Anti-Terminator
Time for fun, Will Robinson!

LiquiGlide Will Be Everywhere
'They poured the remnants of eggs out of their frictionless cups...'

US Customs Now Doing Facial Recognition At DC Airport
Are you who you say you are?

How Many Systems In That Galactic Empire Now?
'An Empire to twenty million stellar systems...'

Petman Robot Pushes Itself To The Limit
'There was the butler robot, hard at work, his copper face expressionless...'

Coleus LED 'Skylight' Dispenses Natural Sunlight Indoors
'How do they work it so that the sky is visible at every level of the city?'

UR3 Robot At Work On Copies Of Itself
'I don't mean that you should construct this ultra-microrobot with your own fingers, of course...'

3D Printing 'Terminator T-1000-Style'
Not quite 'a mimetic polyalloy...'

Norlin Shoe Drone Robot UAV In-Store Delivery Thing
'Robot-salesmen were everywhere, gesturing, pleading, shrilling.'

Bridge-MINDER Repair Robot
'The repair robots had started out on their rounds...'

Super Ball Bot Tensegrity Robot For Solar System Exploration
'Each leg in turn acted as a pivot around which the creature whirled its body...'

iSkin On-Body Touch Sensors
'Three rows of four colored dots appeared on the heel of my left hand.'

Britain To Build Spaceport, First In Europe
'The space-ports at the three great cities...'

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.