The Royal Navy is interested in progressing its use of uncrewed surface and underwater vehicles which have a unique propulsion system and/or design based on physical animal behaviours.
The Royal Navy say in a Request for Information that evolutionary biomechanics move away from using a traditional thruster, to those inspired by the flapping fins of swimming animals such as rays, penguins and turtles.
“Examples of this may include, but not be limited to how a dolphin manoeuvres underwater, or how a sea snake swims on the surface.”
The RFI points out that it was published as the Royal Navy aims to understand the technology that already exists in the commercial sector as a view for potential future investment.
The RFI aims to achieve 4 outcomes:
- Detailed understanding of current and potential technology as informed by evolutionary biomechanics.
- Detailed understanding of industry use cases of this technology.
- Align the MOD requirement with industry capability and processes for procurement of the required solution.
- Generate a procurement/development strategy that will maximise capability development within this innovative area.
The MoD are keen to stress:
“This RFI is an information gathering exercise, no further discussions with industry are planned at this stage however any future procurement activity will be advertised in line with public procurement regulations on the Defence Sourcing Portal and Contracts Finder.”
Full details of RFI0013 ‘Animal Biomechanics and Behaviours’ can be found by clicking here.
Back in 2017, the Royal Navy unveiled a series of futuristic submarine concepts which mimic real marine lifeforms and radically change the way underwater warfare could look in 50 years.
“With a crewed mothership shaped like a manta ray, unmanned eel-like vessels equipped with sensor pods which dissolve on demand to avoid enemy detection, and fish-shaped torpedoes sent to swarm against enemy targets, these concepts aim to inspire the world’s future underwater combat environment. The UK’s brightest and most talented young engineers and scientists came up with the designs after being challenged by the Royal Navy to imagine what a future submarine would look like and how it would be used to keep Britain safe in decades to come.”
You can read more about the 2017 unveiling here.