We’ve seen DARPA’s Anti-Submarine Warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vehicle (ACTUV) last year which can hunt down silent subs in deep sea waters. Now DARPA wants to up the ante by deploying payloads at the bottom of the sea. The program, dubbed “Upward Falling Payloads” or UFP, aims to hibernate deep-sea capsules or payloads that can last for years. When the right time comes, these payloads can wake up remotely and can be deployed to the surface, providing operational support and situational awareness.
DARPA is hoping that these payloads will fill up the distance gaps and deliver just the right action required while afar. “The goal is to support the Navy with distributed technologies anywhere, anytime over large maritime areas. If we can do this rapidly, we can get close to the areas we need to affect, or become widely distributed without delay,” said DARPA Program Manager Andy Coon. “To make this work, we need to address technical challenges like extended survival of nodes under extreme ocean pressure, communications to wake-up the nodes after years of sleep, and efficient launch of payloads to the surface.”