The British Royal Navy has presented a series of futuristic submarine concepts, which are expected to bring about changes in underwater warfare operations over the next 50 years.
The new concepts have been designed as part of a Royal Navy project named Nautilus 100 by a team of young engineers and scientists from UKNEST, a not-for-profit organisation in the UK.
They include futuristic concepts such as a crewed mothership with a manta ray-like appearance, unmanned eel-like submarines and fish-shaped torpedoes launched to swarm against enemy targets.
If materialised, these concepts are expected to transform the future underwater combat environment worldwide.
UK Defence Minister Harriett Baldwin said: “These remarkable designs display the great promise of our young engineers and scientists, and the great ambition of the Royal Navy.
“This kind of innovation is at the heart of defence and the UK's world-leading capability. That's why we are using our rising budget to invest in high-tech capability to keep our armed forces at the cutting-edge, and our £800m Innovation Fund aims to take advantage of exactly these kinds of futuristic ideas.”
The mothership would be shaped like a whale shark or manta ray and constructed using strong alloys and acrylics, with surfaces that can morph into shape and potentially be capable of launching eel-shaped unmanned underwater vehicles incorporated with sensor pods.
The pods would have the ability to damage an enemy vessel or dissolve on demand at the end of an operation in order to avoid detection by the enemy.
In addition, the submarine may feature hybrid algae-electric cruising power and propulsion technologies, including tunnel drives that work in a similar manner to a Dyson bladeless fan.
This would enable the vessel to travel at a speed of up to 150k.
Image: Concept design of the unmanned eel-like submarine was created as part of the British Royal Navy’s Nautilus 100 project. Photo: courtesy of the Royal Navy.