By Committee for Naval Hydromechanics Science and Technology, Naval Studies Board, National Research Council
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The only supporter of hydromechanics research of any import is ONR. However, during the 1990s, ONR, and especially that part of ONR most relevant for naval hydromechanics, became more missionoriented. That is, it became more concerned with solving specific problems over short time scales than with developing new knowledge that will support naval forces well into the twenty-first century. In view of federal budget constraints, this focus on the short term is understandable, but because of time constraints and limited horizons, short-term, mission-oriented research almost always becomes a synthesis of current knowledge rather than a generator of new knowledge.
This is due to mergers, the application of submarine technology, and the Acquisition Reform initiative, which has resulted in funded industry becoming involved in future programs much earlier. This research, however, has been oriented toward platformspecific solutions for a given program, which tend toward nearer-term solutions, not long-term basic and applied research focused on advancing technology. Design authority essentially remained with the Navy until the mid-1990s, when acquisition reform initiatives led to the creation of industry-government teams that competed with one another during the ship design process.
Additional emphasis on stealth was articulated by the Program Executive Office-Submarines, which called the art and science of designing and building quiet submarine propulsors one of its crown jewels. Moreover, greater affordability—that is, more capability per unit cost—is always needed, and it is an area where hydromechanics can have a significant impact. In the laboratory arena, a recent review by the NSWCCD gave prominence to signature and silencing systems and hull forms and propulsors as its core assets.
An Assessment of Naval Hydromechanics Science and Technology (Compass Series) by Committee for Naval Hydromechanics Science and Technology, Naval Studies Board, National Research Council