Archive for the 'Science and Technology' Category

Jul 26

Model Basins

Tuesday, July 26, 2016 12:01 AM

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Interior of the David Taylor Model Basin showing the two principal towing tanks. The electric carriage in the center is one of four tubular steel carriages used for towing models, 1943.

In an era of computers, it is hard to imagine research of any kind without them? How did the Navy develop new ships before computer simulation? The answer: the experiments done at a model basin. These facilities allow scientists to build ships and airplanes and then put them through real-life conditions to determine how well the crafts will survive. The Navy’s first model basin was the Experimental Model Basin (EMB), built on the Washington Navy Yard in 1899 under the command of David Watson Taylor. The basin was 14 feet deep, 42 feet wide, and 470 feet long, with a… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Jul 8

Classifying Warships by Generation

Friday, July 8, 2016 2:49 PM

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HMS DREADNOUGHT--a revolutionary ship whose launch marked the beginning of modern naval warfare. (U.S. Naval Institute Photo Archive)

Warships are complex and sophisticated tools; understanding and communicating what makes a difference to their quality, capability and value for money are difficult tasks. An example of how it might be done is the way air forces have used the shorthand of 3rd, 4th, and 5th generation fighter aircraft. This post proposes a system of classifying warships by generation. The purpose is twofold: first, to enable navies to more easily and clearly communicate with policy makers and the general public about current and future capability. The case for a future surface combatant is not proved simply by a label, but… Read the rest of this entry »

 
Feb 25

Wood That it Were

Thursday, February 25, 2016 10:42 AM

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A Japanese ukiyo-ye woodblock print of the battle.

The ramifications of a battle can extend far beyond its immediate impact on the conflict at hand. Sometimes, the greatest impacts are on the technology and tactics of war-fighting. Such was the case of the Battle of the Yalu River, the largest naval engagement of the first Sino-Japanese War on 17 September 1894. In the battles for control of the Korean peninsula, the larger Chinese Beiyang Fleet was met by the Japanese Navy. The Chinese fleet was one of the most powerful in Asia, consisting of modern, European-built, steel, pre-Dreadnought ships. The Imperial Japanese Navy was also armed with several… Read the rest of this entry »

 
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 »

 
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