Archive for the 'Science and Technology' Category

Dec 29

The Launch of Navy Radar

Tuesday, December 29, 2015 10:41 AM

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The frame just above the pilothouse of the USS NEW YORK is the antenna for the XAF, the prototype radar set developed by the Naval Research Laboratory. Installed in 1938, it was the first to be used on board a U.S. warship. (U.S. Naval Institute Photo Archive)

The rectangular frame-like object seemingly fastened above the pilothouse of the USS New York (BB-34), above, wasn’t an oversized mattress spring or an early-model solar panel. It was the antenna for the XAF, the first radar set installed on board a major U.S. warship. Successful tests of the new device—including three months of 20-hour-a-day operation for aircraft detection, navigation, and gunnery practice—convinced the Navy that radar would be a godsend. The awkward-looking, 17-foot-square antenna could reliably detect aircraft as far as 100 nautical miles out and spot surface ships 15 miles away. And it could track projectiles and falling shot… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Dec 16

Salty Talk

Wednesday, December 16, 2015 12:01 AM

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ST_JulAug1994

A ship is built much like a human being, only in the horizontal plane. Her keel fulfills exactly the same purpose as a backbone, being the basic piece to which all others ultimately are connected. The ship’s frames are her ribs, paced out along the length of the keel to give the final structure her form. In human beings, the ribs join in front; in ships, they do not, but have their upper ends held in position by having transverse pieces running between them. These pieces are called “beams,” from the Saxon word for “tree,” and they also serve to… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Nov 5

The Atomic Buoy Experiment

Thursday, November 5, 2015 12:01 AM

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The Atomic Buoy being readied for deployment. Curtis Bay, Maryland, December, 1962. USCG Photo. USNI Archives.

It’s not every day that the deployment of a navigational aid is attended by great fanfare, but that is exactly what happened on December 15th, 1961 at the Coast Guard Yard in Curtis Bay, Maryland. That afternoon, the U. S. Coast Guard launched its grand experiment for the world of tomorrow: the new Atomic Buoy. Wait–the new what? Eight years earlier, on December 8th, 1953, President Dwight D. Eisenhower stepped to the podium in the U.N. General Assembly hall in New York City to deliver an address on a topic that had been weighing heavily on the minds of many… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Aug 10

The Dropping of the TURDSID in Vietnam

Monday, August 10, 2015 7:00 AM

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TURDSID

Electronic warfare and surveillance are increasingly becoming topics of discussion. The nature of that type of warfare (and indeed combat itself) calls for a certain amount of creativity. To see, but not be recognized or seen oneself, begs for innovation and novel solutions to life-threatening problems. But even the most brilliant plans can be rendered moot if one builds an idea on a false assumption. Such is the nature of the ingenious yet flawed TURDSID.

 
Mar 23

Driving Navy Innovation: Turboelectric to Hybrid Propulsion

Monday, March 23, 2015 4:39 PM

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By Rear Adm. Kevin Slates Director, Energy and Environmental Readiness Division Ninety-eight years ago today, the Navy deployed a new technology on USS New Mexico (BB 40) that was then hailed as one of the most important achievements of the scientific age: the turboelectric drive. Before this major event, ships used a direct-drive steam turbine, which started with the HMS Dreadnought. Direct drive turbines were very efficient at faster speeds, but at slow speeds they wasted energy when the propeller turned too quickly, causing cavitation. Since the average underway speed of battleships was under 15 knots, this proved to be an… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jul 17

Joint Space Operations

Wednesday, July 17, 2013 1:12 PM

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On 17 July 1975, the crews of the U.S. Apollo and Soviet Soyuz docked in space initiating the first manned space flight conducted jointly by the United States and Soviet Union. The primary purpose of the mission, the Apollo Soyuz Test Project, was to test the compatibility of rendezvous and docking systems for American and Soviet spacecraft and to open the way for international space rescue as well as future joint manned flights. It also symbolized a policy of détente that the two superpowers were pursuing at the time and marked the end of the Space Race between the two… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jun 20

Navy Innovation

Thursday, June 20, 2013 7:01 AM

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There’s been plenty of discussion about the Navy’s recent approach to ship building, and the promise of capability and capacity – see Littoral Combat Ship. What can history tell us about nurturing at sea innovation? It is never easy. On June 20, 1815, the Navy’s first steam-driven warship, the Fulton I, underwent initial trials in New York. Fulton, named in honor of her designer, Robert Fulton, was intended to be a heavily-armed and stoutly built mobile fort for local defense. Put into service in 1816, she missed action in the War of 1812 and only performed a single day of… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Apr 18

Operation Praying Mantis, 18 April 1988

Thursday, April 18, 2013 6:40 AM

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On 14 April 1988, watchstanders aboard USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG 58) sighted three mines floating approximately half of a mile from the ship. Twenty minutes after the first sighting, as Samuel B. Roberts was backing clear of the minefield, she struck a submerged mine. The explosive device tore a 21-foot hole in the hull, causing extensive fires and flooding. Ten Sailors were injured in the attack. Only the heroic efforts of the ship’s crew, working feverishly for seven straight hours, saved the vessel from sinking. Four days later, forces of the Joint Task Force Middle East (JTFME) executed the… Read the rest of this entry »

 
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