The converted ballistic-missile submarines provide “a
very credible platform to deploy many, many things, and a
surveillance system like PLUSNet could be one of those
things,” Shipley said, adding that the devil is in the details.
“There are a lot of engineering and details that have
to be worked out,” he said.
In the meantime, Shipley said the plan is to conduct
intermediate tests to validate PLUSNet’s numerous
“MB06 was the first time we stuck a number of sensors we’re using in the water to operate as a kind of engineering test,” he said, adding that another multiweek
experiment is slated this year.
“That will have a little more complete system,” he
said. “We’ll have a few more nodes, operate a little
more autonomously and with a little more mobility.”
Shipley said the team hopes for a longer, more complete experiment that will demonstrate an increasingly
mature capability. Ultimately, the three-year program
will culminate in a “demonstration of as much of the
component technologies as we can field on a PLUS system,” he said.
NATIONAL UNDERSEA RESEARCH CENTER
The Slocum Glider can be deployed from small vessels to
perform wide-area ocean surveys lasting up to a month.
It surveys from the surface to a maximum depth of 200
meters and then back in a saw-tooth pattern as wings
and control surfaces convert the vertical motion due to
changing buoyancy into forward velocity.
SEAPOWER / FEBRUARY 2007
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