The UK and Australia bring underwater platforms and systems engineering back to universities and schools.
Late August, the UK Royal Navy (RN) unveiled a series of futuristic submarine concepts designed by young British scientists and engineers from UKNEST, a not-for-profit organisation that promotes science, engineering and technology for UK naval design.
Taking inspiration from real marine lifeforms, the young engineers and scientists designed a crewed submarine platform shaped like a manta ray, from which could be launched unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) shaped like eels carrying pods packed with sensors for different missions. The manta ray-shaped mothership would be built from super-strong alloys and acrylics, with surfaces that can morph in shape, and its hybrid algae-electric cruising power and propulsion technologies could make the submarine travel at unprecedented speeds of up to 150 knots.
The project, named Nautilus 100, was set up to mark the 100th anniversary of the launch of the USS Nautilus, the world’s first nuclear-powered submarine.
All the way across the world, ‘down-under’, the Submarine Institute of Australia (SIA) supported the ‘Subs in School’ competition, a technology challenge programme developed by the Department of Defence and the Re-Engineering Australia (REA) foundation. It focused on engaging student interest in the technology of submersible vehicles and submarines and is built on the fundamentals of project-based learning.
Early September, SIA announced that Team Triton ROV – a group of 12-year-old students from Prince Alfred College in Adelaide – had won the finals for the programme competition, and would attend the launch of “Subs in School” in London in October. “Triton ROV won seven of the nine categories it competed in, including overall national champions, so hopefully this will stand it in good stead to represent Australia in Europe,” Mark Sander, SIA President, said.