back to article US Navy unveils superconductor 'cloaking device' destroyer

US Navy boffins say they have made a significant breakthrough in countermeasures against sea mines - by using superconductors to nullify the magnetic signature of an American destroyer. The Office of Naval Research (ONR) says that high-temperature superconductor (HTS) "degaussing" coils fitted to the destroyer USS Higgins were …

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Happy

Does it come with a "flux capacitor"?

and what defence against laser carrying sharks?

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Progress!

So the next logical step after this refinement for mine tech is better sensor mechanisms (infra/optic?), probably supported by rudimentary AI.

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Joke

Isn't this...

...how the Philidelphia Experiment was sent back in time?

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Alert

Sounds familiar

Wasn't this the cover story for the Philadelphia Experiment?

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Dan

Damn...

Hoped I'd be the first to mention the Philadelphia Experiment!

Couldn't they get a similar effect by running a load of CRT monitors just inside the hull, and pressing all the degauss buttons at once?!

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Boffin

Temperature

-240C? What cryogen are they using? HTS normally means LN2, which is a nice, balmy -196C (77K). Neon? Hydrogen?

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Anonymous Coward

Locking the gate ...

... after the horse has bolted, if you ask me. More pointless expenditure.

I'm all for R&D and keeping the forces at the cutting edge, but there has to be a point to it.

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This is not the USS Sturman you are looking for...

Wonder which will disappear quickest - the ship's magnetic signature or the remaining US Navy budget..?

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Coat

Predictable Philly comments ahoy!

Mine's the one fused into the steel bulkhead.

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Go

Beat the retreat

"The benefits of HTS degaussing will give us a great warfighting advantage going forward."

Retreat is actively discouraged obviously.

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Boffin

@Dan - CRT degauss

<click> - <TUNG!> wobble wobble wobble

Might all that wobbling run the risk of capsizing the ship?

If its safe then it would be a good way to clear the old monitor stockpiles. More research needed

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Stop

Life Saving Work?

"...because we know our work will save lives,"

Er, that would that be American lives, right?

I expect the extended this life expectancy of US warships and sailors will result in the reduced life expectancy for any "insurgents" the warships are deployed against.

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Joke

You'll know which ships have this fitted...

...as they'll be the ones with a ring of pack ice around the hull

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claoking device most likely not intended for ships

I would think that the cloaking device would be better suited for installation on submarines. It would be ideal for the stated anti-mine function and aid in elluding airborne magnetic anomoly detectors. Subs are generally nuclear so power generation is likely not a problem.

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Happy

Iraqi mines were Italian.

IIRC, the influence mines that damaged both the USN ships in 1991 were thought to have been Italian Manta acoustic and magnetic detecting types, supplied (with US approval) at an earlier date when Saddam was viewed as a bulwark against Iranian influence. Both the USSs Princeton and Triploi were using degaussing rings, which implies this old design of mine still managed to pick up enough of a magnetic signature or just enough of an acoustic signature to detect both ships, and may therefore still be a threat to even a superdegaussed ship. Looks like time for the laser-turrets to be mounted on massive hovercraft!

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Go

obligatory scifi quotes

"apology accepted, captain needa"

and a homing torpedo from undiscovered country? well the things gotta have a tailpipe

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Paris Hilton

@Mister_C

You TOTALLY get the award for putting into actual words what actually happens when you hit the degauss option!

Classic!

Paris, 'cos I reckon, well, '<click> - <TUNG!> wobble wobble wobble' y'know...

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Boffin

@Dan

Mental Image of dog shaking off Water/Bugs converted into ship shaking of mines...

ya thanks for that!

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Coat

USS Higgins' bosun?

No comments about large hadron collisions then?

Mine's the one with G.S. Venus on the back...

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Boffin

@ Ian Johnston

It's perfectly possible to use liquid nitrogen at -240°C, it boils at -192°C, but with additional cooling it can easily be taken cooler. If you don't have a ready supply of liquid N2 you might want to keep it below boiling point so it doesn't all disappear when you reach e.g. the Persian gulf. The more you chill the superconductors the larger the magnetic field you can use without the superconductivity breaking down.

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Joke

So they've just switched to full power, eh?

But does it go up to 11?

You can guess what DVD would be in my jacket pocket.

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Sam

Re: Damn.. by Dan

"Couldn't they get a similar effect by running a load of CRT monitors just inside the hull, and pressing all the degauss buttons at once?!"

On the other hand, you should see the effect on a CRT when they reverse the current through that degaussing coil.

Its a bit more than "<click> - <TUNG!> wobble wobble wobble".

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Black Helicopters

Yeah, but...

You have this big collection of different metals sat in salt water, basically a bloody big salt water battery... The sneaky bad guy commie bastards are just going to change the design of their mines to detect the eddy currents... or go back to the WWII spiky BLAM on contact design.

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Thumb Down

So...

What happens if/when the Hull gets pierced?

I do hope they included an emergency exit for all that (very) cold stuff, preferably one that takes it away from the crew.

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Unhappy

Report the test results, ASAP

Unfortunately, report of the successful test was delayed in reaching the command ashore, as all the hard-drives on board were similarly degaussed.

Oh well... semaphores anyone?

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Black Helicopters

The Philadelphia Experiment

One explanation that I heard is that the ship sailed into a fog bank at night, and an inexperienced observer saw this and thought it had vanished. All the rumours started there.

The conspiracy theory is that they were testing out a way to make ships invisible, but instead it caused the ship and its crew to be transported through space and time and so on.

A middle ground explanation is that there was a top secret (naturally) project to make ships invisible *to radar*. And it worked. Unfortunately, the intense electromagnetic fields interfered with the brains of some of the sailors, causing hallucinations and psychedelic episodes. Since it turned out to be impossible to screen off the sailors from the effects so as to keep them fit for combat, the project was quietly shelved. But by this time, a number of sailors had hallucinated a lot of stuff, and were no longer competent to keep silent about it.

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On degaussing

Usually this was done at base and I would hope never while they were in a minefield.

The way you degauss something (stating the obvious here to forestall all the 'knew that' comments) is to alternately magnetize it in opposite directions; with a steady decline in current every time.

Which would be nice but I can't really see that (degaussing) changing the Permeability of that block of iron which is probably what the mine is designed to detect.

Maybe it makes the personnel feel safer?

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Anonymous Coward

@John F***ing Stepp

You're thinking of "de-perming". De-gaussing is continuous.

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Paris Hilton

Only permanent when stationary

Degaussing is only "permanent" when the degaussed metals are not moved through a magnetic field - such as the one caused by a blob of molten iron/nickel 7000 miles under our feet.

Even that moves, so degaussing is only permanent if the degaussed object is moved in sync with it.

Paris, because she thinks about as slowly as the earth's magnetic field changes.

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