OUSD (R&E) CRITICAL TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Advanced Materials
OBJECTIVE: Develop a craft that is easily manufacturable in theatre to allow more assets to arrive at the Expeditionary Advanced Base (EAB) within the same shipping/logistic footprint for forward deployments.
DESCRIPTION: More craft available in theater would support reduction in refuel, rearm, and resupply times allowing on demand supply transport from a capital asset or a supply depot to forward bases. This will enable risk worthy asset support to contested logistics and distributed lethality during littoral operations in a contested environment through manned or unmanned operations. The kit shall be stored within a standard shipping container no larger than 40 foot that may contain other supporting equipment. A form factor similar to the portable rigid inflatable boat is desired. Craft must be recoverable by conventional ship boat handling mechanisms. Maximum craft weight cannot exceed 5,600 pounds fully outfitted. The portable boat & small craft assembly kits need to contain, within shipping containers, all components needed for construction. Forward deployed sailors would then construct the craft, assisted by manufacturing aids. The craft that is manufactured would then need to meet stability and speed requirements in a minimum of sea state 3.
Stage of completion and speed to deployment must be weighed against compactness of shipping. Flexibility to disassemble craft for storage or repurposing is desired. Craft operation should not require more than two boat operators. Expected maximum payload is no more than 925 pounds. Payload includes weapons/ammo (forward M60/M240 machine gun mount), other outfit and personnel.
Autonomous operation is not a requirement but inclusion of the capability to attach a tactical autonomous operation kit is desirable. Number of craft kits per container will be determined by scale of finished craft and volume needed for accessories and payload support systems. Payloads may include offensive or defensive systems and humanitarian support.
PHASE I: Develop a concept for portable boats & small craft assembly kits for an Expeditionary Combatant Craft or relevant vessel. Demonstrate the feasibility of the operational concept via physics-based modeling and simulation. Define the components of the system and hull, mechanical and electrical interfaces as well as additional functional design concepts of the system. Provide a preliminary concept design and an associated component validation plan. The Phase I Option, if exercised, will include the initial design specifications and capabilities description to build a prototype solution in Phase II.
PHASE II: Develop and deliver a prototype portable boat & small craft assembly kit capable of being constructed by forward deployed sailors. Evaluate the prototype to determine its capability in meeting the performance goals defined in the Phase II SOW. Demonstrate system performance through prototype evaluation and testing, modeling, and analysis. Evaluate results and accordingly refine the system concept. Ensure that the prototyped hardware clearly shows a path to development of a sea worthy hardened system. The prototype model is to be made available for Government demonstration or testing upon Government request. Prepare a Phase III development plan to transition the technology for Navy use.
PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Support the Navy in transitioning the system for Navy use. Support the Navy in transitioning a fully hardened system for sea trials to be demonstrated on a relevant vessel. Ensure that the system passes an underway test to be developed for the defined test platform. Support for participation in fleet demonstration is aimed at transition with the intent to purchase and integrate the system into the US Navy.
Commercial applications include disaster recovery efforts where an abundance of quickly assembled small craft will make significant impact in humanitarian relief efforts in moving people and provisions in ravaged environments brought on by natural disasters or war.
- Lacey, Jim, THE “DUMBEST CONCEPT EVER” JUST MIGHT WIN WARS, War on the Rocks 29 July 2019, https://warontherocks.com/2019/07/the-dumbest-concept-ever-just-might-win-wars/
- Smith, Eric M, Lieutenant General, US Marine Corps, Deputy Commandant for Combat Development and Integration, 'Tentative Manual for Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations", February 2021, https://mca-marines.org/wp-content/uploads/TM-EABO-First-Edition-1.pdf
KEYWORDS: Portable Boats; Assembly Kits; Force Protection Operations; Distributed Maritime Operations; Littoral Operations; Contested Environment