Sea Technology

JUN 2018

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Page 29 of 52 June 2018 | ST 29 Arctic research. With support from ONR's Arctic and Global Prediction program, scientists use unmanned underwater vehicles and other au- tonomous technologies—equipped with high-tech oceanographic and atmospheric sensors—to record sea, ice and weather conditions and provide higher-resolution data fields to forecasting computer models. In addition, ONR's Warfighter Per- formance Department is looking at human physiological responses to extreme cold and the development of better cold-weather clothing. While analyzing physical chang- es in the Arctic and human vulnera- bilities to cold are vital, it's equally important to determine how well the Navy's surface vessels will func- tion in this extreme environment. Arctic operations require ships to have reinforced hulls capable of breaking through ice and super- structures designed to endure heavy ice buildup. ONR's Sea Warfare and Weapons Department is sponsoring this research. How Much Arctic Can Navy Ships Handle? Despite the Arctic's current warming trend, it still consists of vast, frozen tracts of land and ocean, often impen- etrable without the help of icebreakers. This poses a formidable obstacle to the Navy—which has had few ice-capable warships since the 1960s, when it turned over its eight World War II-era icebreakers to the U.S. Coast Guard, which remains America's primary naval presence in the Arctic. ONR-sponsored scien- tists and engineers are us- ing sophisticated comput- er modeling and material science to evaluate how capably the present fleet might perform in volatile, sub-zero polar regions— particularly in the Mar- ginal Ice Zone, a dense patchwork of ice floes sit- ting between solid sea ice and the open ocean. "There is a great likelihood that, after a long absence since the Cold War, the Navy will send surface ships into polar regions again," said Dr. Paul Hess, an ONR program officer. "By increasing our under- standing of issues like ice loading or the ability of existing ship hulls to withstand ice strikes, we can help the Navy understand how to safely operate existing ships—and what types of vessels it will need to build both in the near future and decades from now." Specific research areas include ice buildup and special coatings to prevent the frozen stuff from stick- ing to exposed metal; interaction between sea ice and ship hulls; and propellers that are less vulnerable to ice damage. Intimidating Ice Among the worst hazards of Arctic sailing is topside icing (also called ice accretion), where water blown from the ocean freezes on contact with a vessel. Weight ac- cumulated through ice accretion can affect a ship's speed, turning radius and tactical maneuverability. It could even disrupt the center of gravity and cause capsizing. Dr. Joan Gardener, right, and Dr. Rick Hagen, with the Naval Research Laboratory, drill a hole into 6 ft. of ice to collect water samples, ice cores and tem- perature readings as part of an ongoing research project for ice characterization during Ice Exercise (ICEX) 2016, a five-week exercise designed to re- search, test and evaluate operational capabilities in the region. Photo Credit: U.S. Navy, Tyler N. Thompson USA 1.508.291.0057 Clearly Superior Imaging SONAR SYSTEMS SUB-BOTTOM PROFILERS BATHYMETRY SYSTEMS SIDE SCAN SONARS

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