The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the U.S. Navy have signed a Memorandum of Agreement to study future fast-attack submarine design concepts. The study will focus on advanced payloads and sensor systems and the attendant implications for platform design, with particular emphasis on innovative ideas to enhance the submarine's effectiveness.
DARPA and the Navy hope to involve several multi-disciplinary industrial teams in the 18-month study effort. Teams will likely include companies with expertise in command, control, computers, communications, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems and technologies; weapons development; and ship design. The study will investigate all attack submarine payloads, sensor systems and subsystems, and other total ship systems aspects of underwater platform design. The submarine propulsion train and reactor will not be included. The study will also plan for follow-on development phases.
The study is being undertaken in response to a recent Defense Science Board Task Force Report, "Submarine of the Future," which highlighted the anticipated need for larger, more diverse, and more flexible payloads to maintain submarine warfighting effectiveness in the 21st century.
DARPA will manage the study effort in cooperation with the Naval Sea Systems Command's Director of Submarine Technology. Further details outlining study plans are expected to be available this fall.