General Dynamics Electric Boat (Groton, Connecticut) has been awarded three contracts worth a total of $20.5 million to develop submarine technology for a joint Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)/U.S. Navy program. The awards are part of a four-year, $97 million program known as Tango Bravo. This program is examining certain technologies to determine whether they can meet stringent submarine performance requirements while reducing ship-acquisition and life-cycle costs and improving the warfighting capabilities and mission adaptability of future submarines. The designation Tango Bravo refers to the term "technology barrier."
Under the terms of the first, $9.5 million contract, Electric Boat will develop and demonstrate an external weapon-launch system that can stow, communicate with and deliver an MK 48 Advanced Capability torpedo from outside the pressure hull. The second award, for $6.3 million, calls for Electric Boat to develop and demonstrate a propulsive system that does not require a shaft to penetrate the pressure hull. The third award - worth $4.7 million - requires Electric Boat to develop technology to radically reduce ship infrastructure.
Electric Boat is currently exploring advanced concepts that will enable the U.S. Navy's submarine force to affordably maintain its undersea superiority in the 21st century. Conducted by the company's Concept Formulation (CONFORM) organization, these studies have produced a vision of the submarine of the future. This revolutionary platform incorporates a variety of features including increased payload, radically improved acoustics, external weapons, conformal sensor arrays, adjunct vehicles, and reduced manning.