Designing Better Vessels

An Idea for a Novel Vehicle is Afloat at Florida Tech’s Naval Architecture Lab

A boat? A submarine? A Transformable Submersible Hydrofoil Trimaran? Why, yes, yes it is. But what exactly is this interesting machine?

Florida Tech Ph.D. student Yi Peng Pan, led by Prasanta Sahoo, associate professor of naval architecture, is working on a concept for developing a novel vehicle that can transform from a surface-operating craft to one that can work under water, like a submarine. Potential uses for the craft would be military or security applications such as underwater surveillance for ports and infrastructure; underwater rescue, mapping or stealth operations; disaster relief during tsunami or earthquake or, perhaps used for anti-smuggling  patrol.

The specs for the Transformable Submersible Hydrofoil Trimaran:

  • Changeable configuration of the outriggers transforms the craft from a trimaran on the surface to underwater submarine.
  • Displacement, about 1500 tonnes.
  •  Equipped with two gas turbine propulsion systems, it could travel as fast as 50 knots on the surface and proceed with a low noise signature profile underwater using electric power.
  • Multiple SONAR systems would navigate and locate objects in zero visibility conditions. This vehicle would also address detection, fleet protection, anti-access, area denial capacity and capabilities among potential adversaries, further highlighting the need for technologies that assure access for naval forces. 
  • The vehicle would address the complexity of the littoral battle space and changing environmental conditions, such as the increased open water in the Asian-Pacific region, which demands advanced high-resolution environmental observation and prediction capabilities.
  • If funded,  TSHT is designed to be an integrated research program involving electrical, computer, mechanical, and ocean engineering fields at Florida Institute of Technology as well as working with industry experts and companies with prior experience in surface and underwater vehicles.


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