Report: Firm Claims to Have Engineered the Quietest UnderSea Drone of All Time?

December 23, 2016 Topic: Security Blog Brand: The Buzz Tags: SubmarineDroneiranChinaMilitaryUS NavyTechnologyPolitics

Report: Firm Claims to Have Engineered the Quietest UnderSea Drone of All Time?

Why China and Iran should be worried. 

Using a “quieter” electric generator and electric motor, the prototype “Guardian” relies on hybrid-diesel electric propulsion and a 500hp engine to reach littoral areas and other high-risk undersea locations. Could it approach Iranian and Chinese Shores?

The U.S. Navy is not commenting on any potential interest in an emerging “dry submersible” propulsion technology that has been demonstrated and tested by a number of DOD organizations.

Greg Sancoff, President and CEO of N.H.-based Juliet Marine Systems, told Defense Systems that its new technology has been engineered to perform multi-mission surface and underwater operations quieter and more effectively than existing platforms. Although assessed by the Office of Naval Research, no contract was awarded, and the company is now demonstrating its technology to a wider group of customers.

Developers said the majority of the engineering for the platform has already been completed, and that the submersible is uniquely configured for ISR, mine-hunting, anti-swarm operations and short-range firepower.

Using a “quieter” electric generator and electric motor, the prototype “Guardian” relies on hybrid-diesel electric propulsion and a 500hp engine to reach littoral areas and other high-risk undersea locations.

“Anything that runs under the water has 900 times more friction than anything that flies through the air.

When you surround an underwater body with bubbles, you can reduce that friction dramatically,” Sancoff said.

Juliet Marine’s “Guardian” is an adaptation of the firm’s surface-oriented “Ghost” vehicle, which uses hydro-dynamic technology to travel at 30 knots on the surface and can also operate underwater. The Guardian uses battery banks to conduct undersea operations with almost no sound, or acoustic signature, Sancoff explained.

It uses a wide range of sensors, infrared night vision, range-finding image magnification radar and collision avoidance technology, developers said.

“We are not a small patrol boat. We develop a unique technology that allows a small craft to ride like a big ship. When we hit a wave with Guardian above water, you don’t even feel it because of the system we have built,” Sancoff said.

The Guardian can operate as both as a drone and manned platform, he added.

Quieter underwater technology of this kind, Sancoff said, could allow the Guardian to perform high-risk, shallow-water missions in strategically vital areas such as the Strait of Hormuz or South China Sea.

Sancoff told Defense Systems that discussions about the platform with DOD and various services are still ongoing but that, thus far, no contracts have been awarded.

However, Sancoff said the prototype vehicle, which has been conducting various demonstrations for about 18 months, has inspired interest from several possible international customers.

Sancoff says the Guardian has generated interest from Japan, Korea and the United Arab Emirates, and has been demonstrated to several large U.S.-based defense firms as well. 

“JMS has no U.S. Navy contract and is open to do business around the world,” company officials stated. 

Using a “quieter” electric generator and electric motor, the prototype “Guardian” relies on hybrid-diesel electric propulsion and a 500hp engine to reach littoral areas and other high-risk undersea locations.

“Anything that runs under the water has 900 times more friction than anything that flies through the air.

When you surround an underwater body with bubbles, you can reduce that friction dramatically,” Sancoff said.

Juliet Marine’s “Guardian” is an adaptation of the firm’s surface-oriented “Ghost” vehicle, which uses hydro-dynamic technology to travel at 30 knots on the surface and can also operate underwater. The Guardian uses battery banks to conduct undersea operations with almost no sound, or acoustic signature, Sancoff explained.

It uses a wide range of sensors, infrared night vision, range-finding image magnification radar and collision avoidance technology, developers said.

“We are not a small patrol boat. We develop a unique technology that allows a small craft to ride like a big ship. When we hit a wave with Guardian above water, you don’t even feel it because of the system we have built,” Sancoff said.

The Guardian can operate as both as a drone and manned platform, he added.

Quieter underwater technology of this kind, Sancoff said, could allow the Guardian to perform high-risk, shallow-water missions in strategically vital areas such as the Strait of Hormuz or South China Sea.

Sancoff told Defense Systems that discussions about the platform with DOD and various services are still ongoing but that, thus far, no contracts have been awarded.

However, Sancoff said the prototype vehicle, which has been conducting various demonstrations for about 18 months, has inspired interest from several possible international customers.

Sancoff says the Guardian has generated interest from Japan, Korea and the United Arab Emirates, and has been demonstrated to several large U.S.-based defense firms as well. 

“JMS has no U.S. Navy contract and is open to do business around the world,” company officials stated. 

Kris Osborn became the Managing Editor of Scout Warrior in August of 2015. His role with Scout.com includes managing content on the Scout Warrior site and generating independently sourced original material. Scout Warrior is aimed at providing engaging, substantial military-specific content covering a range of key areas such as weapons, emerging or next-generation technologies and issues of relevance to the military. Just prior to coming to Scout Warrior, Osborn served as an Associate Editor at the Military.com. Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a Highly Qualified Expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army - Acquisition, Logistics & Technology. Osborn has also worked as an anchor and on-air military specialist at CNN and CNN Headline News. This story originally appeared in  Scout Warrior.