January 16, 2013
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is investigating ways to store technology, including drones, on the ocean floor until needed by the U.S. Navy.
An ongoing challenge for the Navy is anticipating where resources will be needed and distributing them accordingly, knowing it can take days or weeks for its ships to reach a location across the globe. DARPA’s new program, called Upward Falling Payloads, would help address that challenge by storing a range of technologies in waterproof containers deep in the ocean. When needed, the containers could be awakened remotely and brought to the surface.
DARPA will hold a half-day conference on Jan. 25 in Arlington, Va., where it will flesh out the three key areas of the program: the communications component that triggers the containers’ rise to the surface; the riser mechanism, which protects against the ocean pressure and lifts the containers; and the actual payloads that can be delivered this way. The agency seeks to attract experts in deep-sea engineering, underwater signaling, sensors, electronic warfare and unmanned platforms. The conference is open only to U.S. contractors.