Unmanned ship idea from DARPA draws ideas from industry

ARLINGTON, Va. The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) recently held a Proposers' Day for its newest idea regarding unmanned warships: the "NOMARS" [No Manning Required Ship] program.

Prior to the Proposers' Day, DARPA posted a solicitation that read in part: "“NOMARS will challenge the traditional naval architecture paradigm, designing a seaframe from the ground up with no provision, allowance, or expectation for humans at sea.”

“By removing the human element from all ship design considerations, NOMARS will demonstrate significant advantages, to include size, cost (procurement, operations, and sustainment), at-sea reliability, survivability to sea-state, survivability to adversary actions (stealth considerations, resistance to tampering, etc.), and hydrodynamic efficiency (hull optimization without consideration for crew safety or comfort).”

The DARPA solicitation requested two tracks of proposals: Track A (Integrated Seaframe Design and Maintenance) called for ideas regarding a framework to evaluate potential design concessions versus performance requirements, while Track B asked for proposals on "agile development of relevant subsystem technologies, with a focus on self-adaptive health management for systems relevant to and of similar complexity as that associated with the hull, mechanical, and electrical systems of a seaframe.”