Can we have powered walking exoskeletons instead?
The Royal Navy's (RN) tech innovation tentacle wants clever folk to come up with entirely autonomous ways of dropping new missiles into its warships' hungry silos. NavyX is set to kick off its latest industrial challenge, named the Maritime Autonomous Systems competition. Top of its agenda is finding "solutions that …
Yes. But the Victories cannons are made out of fiberglass to reduce the strain on the decks that are older than the USA, and rather non-functional. (A real 32 pound cannon weighs something like 3.5 tons, I've got pictures of friends carrying one of those fiberglass guns over their shoulder)
Not sure about those particular cannons, but I've worked with some that were fiberglass but had a tube wedged inside for detonating pyrotechnic shells. When the thing goes off, it creates a huge bang and a plume of smoke. Along the bottom was some pneumatic cylinders to push the whole thing back rapidly when 'fired'.
"Most high-energy lasers are chemically-powered. The spent cartridges and waste products are viciously toxic."
It's a problem that solves itself. Shoot enemies with laser; throw cartridges at survivors. Some kind of catapult may be in order. Ideally one with an automated loading system.
However they're not the only weapons, and for some reason they've made loading the silos more complicated than you'd have thought necessary.
I'm guessing size/space constraints, plus a bit of 'elf & safety. So NATO-standardise* around Mk41/57 VLS and supply ammunition in convenient quad-packs. Except those packs are rather large, heavy and awkward, ie almost 8m deep. So how to get those Mk25 packs from supply ship's magazines to the warship.
I guess it's a bit like reactor refueling systems, ie a machine that can squat over a hole and insert a fuel rod. Except that means adding infrastructure to a crowded warship deck that can work in heavy seas, and there's not a lot of space-
Guessing one option could be to add rails along the sides and centre so a gantry crane can trundle along, but first find your gantry crane and assemble it for re-arming. It's an interesting challenge, not helped by having something you may want to store horizontally, but use vertically.. and getting from X-Y means enough space to rotate it. Or perhaps moving away from that kind of VLS to something that might be easier to reload, ie fewer launch cells, but a shorter reload time. But that would make it harder to launch salvos that could overwhelm enemy defences.
*Except France. Hi, Ho Sylver and all that..
Different ship heights and of course tides and that ships go up and down as you load/unload them.
RoRo ships loaded via ramps are available but are usually incompatible with warfighting. Those modern destroyers for eg are too narrow for RoRo. IOW there would not be room.
Rearming sites are already prime targets. If they have to be highly specialised with tiered wharves sized for all the ships they would become even more valuable targets. There are mobile cranes big enough to replace dock cranes so the current system is repairable.
Back in the day it was well known that Auckland was a target for Russian and possibly Chinese nukes. This is because it has a naval base and naval dockyard at Devonport right across the harbour from Downtown. In an On The Beach scenario it could refuel and rearm ANZUS vessels and perhaps repair them as well. Thus a valid target.
In WWI NZ invaded German Samoa to deny the German Pacific Fleet’s use of it as a base. It also had a very tall radio mast so was a communications hub. After they arrived the German Fleet did, observed them then sailed off.
The Australians took German New Guinea and our allies the Japanese took out the German cantonment on the Chinese coast. Thus denying those ships any bases. Nukes do the same job for the same strategic reasons.
Quote: "...shift munitions from storage magazines to the hangar and flight deck, ready to be loaded onto helicopters and fighter jets."
Nope. Will still require munitions types configuring the bomb bodies with tail fins, guidance kits, fuses, arming wire, testing, etc. for the particular mission. Even AA missiles need fins added from storage, ASM (Air to Surface Missiles) require testing to ensure the electronics are working properly. Nothing "ready" about it. Torpedoes I'm not sure about, though, they may come as an all-up round in their coffin.
I see you missed the obvious omission, given the context of the article. The system was designed so that "Munitions can be delivered, in bulk, to the point of use at rates that could not be achieved manually", no mention of actually being able to load up the storage magazines in the first place.
So suspect in typical British procurement style the system will need to be able to negotiate several flights of stairs and other access portals designed for human operatives...
Just because you can automate something doesn't mean that you should. And something like missiles seems like something you want regular flesh-and-blood humans to do. I've seen industrial robots trying to move boxes that aren't there, or trying to shove objects into containers despite the container already being full. Or pick-and-place machines that got miscalculated and are trying to place a capacitor into a space that is currently occupied occupied by the PCB.
I am worried that we'll get a bomb loading robot that mistakes a bulkhead for a bomb rack and attempts to smash a 1000-pound bomb into it . Or drops a nuclear warhead into the ocean because it doesn't realize the ship departed an hour ago. Or a broken sensor causes a torpedo loading robot to not realize the torpedo tube is closed and instead smashes an armed torpedo into the tube's closed breech.
Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019