SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS
Underwater vehicles and marine technologies are very important to
the European countries visited. This is evidenced by government
sponsored and funded programs such as the Marine Technology Directorate
program sponsored by the United Kingdom's Science and Engineering
Research Council and France's IFREMER program. There is also a
European-wide focus through the Marine Science and Technology program.
European marine technology and UV activities are well planned and
focused, and funding, though never enough, is adequate. The bottom line
is that the Europeans are making good progress in developing AUVs
toward some very useful national and regional objectives in ocean
research. Good work is also in progress toward development of ROVs for
the offshore oil industry.
The organizations involved in UV development and marine research are
just as well equipped for research, engineering, and overall system
integration. Their computer equipment and test facilities are as modern
and capable as any in the United States.
Russia and Ukraine
- Labor and materials are still inexpensive. This has led in the past
to an emphasis on manned UVs rather than unmanned units because it is
easier to integrate, maintain, and use the low-cost labor to good
effect. This trend will probably continue into the near future until
the industrial sector in these countries begins to mature and costs
drive them toward unmanned systems. In the West, the high cost of labor
and the risk of litigation and insurance penalties have driven the
United States toward unmanned solutions. However, the same cost of
labor has made sophistication and high technology expensive. The United
States has improved performance and minimized man-dependency, but in
some cases has violated the basic rules of "keep it simple" and
"sufficient is good enough." U.S. researchers are too often enamored of
the whiz-bang solution rather than the simplest solution.
- Fundamental science in Russia and Ukraine is impressive and based
on sound theory. Due to lack of computational capabilities, there has
been a focus on empirical validation rather than in-depth analysis.
This will continue during the settling out process of economic,
political, and defense conversion.
- Researchers in Russia and Ukraine have been very creative in
applied research, and have many accomplishments that equal or exceed
what has been achieved in the West. Some examples include manned
submersibles, acoustic tomography, nonacoustic ASW, high-speed
underwater projectiles, and materials development for the marine
- Engineering is generally behind that of the West in sophistication
but not necessarily in results. Some engineering and integration that
Russian and Ukrainian engineers have done well include the following:
- Numerous and very good research test facilities
- Short development spans based on the build it, field it, and then
improve it theory
- Avoiding the analysis paralysis that slows progress in the
- Lack of preoccupation with aesthetics. Equipment and systems are
built stout to last and simple for easy maintenance.
Published: June 1994; WTEC