The U.S. Navy wants to pack aerial drones and other intelligence-gathering technology into special containers built to withstand deep ocean pressures and distribute them around the world’s seas. The containers will rise to the surface when called into service from a remote location.
These “upward falling payloads” are seen as readying the Navy to address conflicts in corners of the world where it is too expensive or complex to establish a forward operating area, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) explained in a call for proposals.
The containers would be stealthily deployed well ahead of time and designed to stay put on the seafloor for years. The Pentagon said the capsules would be free of actual weapons, limiting the risk of losing any single package. Given the vastness and depth of the ocean, they would not be retrieved once deployed.
“Depending on the specific payload, the systems would provide a range of non-lethal but useful capabilities such as situational awareness, disruption, deception, networking, rescue, or any other mission that benefits from being pre-distributed and hidden,” DARPA explained in a press release.
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