March 29, 2014

Pentagon and DARPA plans to seed ocean floor with payloads waiting to be activated

By Joey Cheng:

Sensors, drones and other devices can be a great help to U.S. forces at sea, but not if forces get caught in a situation without them. That’s why the military is planning to plant them in potential trouble spots ahead of time, and have them wait on the ocean floor to be called into action.

The program is called the Upward Falling Payloads (UFP) and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is preparing for Phase 2 and Phase 3, according to a pre-solicitation notice. The distributed systems would be remotely activated when needed and recalled to the surface by “falling upward.”

The project is a part of an effort to develop low-cost, unmanned and distributed systems in response to the limits imposed by costs and complexity in working in forward operating areas.

“The UFP approach averts solutions to deploy technology from legacy platforms or to grow the complexity and reach of unmanned systems,” DARPA said in its announcement. “Instead, the approach centers on pre-deploying deep-ocean nodes years in advance in forward areas which can be commanded from standoff to deliver a wide range of unmanned and distributed systems to the sub-surface, surface and air.”

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