DARPA design technologies for sea and air delivery systems for direct support to disaster zones from offshore container vessels.
The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) Tactically Expandable Maritime Platform (TEMP) program has finished the project of new technologies to transform commercial container vessels into self-contained floating supply bases in the time of disaster relief operations, with no need of port infrastructure.
The program envisions a container vessels anchoring offshore of a disaster area, and the vessel’s crew giving supplies ashore using DARPA-developed, modular on-board cranes and air- and sea-delivery vehicles.
To give the opportunity military vessels and aircraft to concentrate on new military operations they alone can fulfill, it makes sense to create technologies to leverage standard commercial container vessels, used around the world every day, as a surge capacity for extended humanitarian help and disaster relief operations.
DARPA in recent times finished the 1st phase of the program, which created 4 key modular systems, all of which are transportable using standard 20-foot or 40-foot commercial shipping containers. These include:
• Core support modules—container-sized units that supply electrical power, berthing, water and other life-support requirements for an augmented people aboard the container vessel.
• Motion-stabilized cranes—modular on-board cranes to help transfer of cargo containers at open sea from the vessel deck over the side and onto a sea-delivery vehicle.
• Sea-delivery vehicles—Captive Air Amphibious Transporters (CAAT) have air-filled pontoons on a tank tread-like design, enabling them to carry containers over water and precisely onto shore.
• Parafoil unmanned air-delivery system—a low-cost, propeller-driven air vehicle that uses a parachute for lift and carries urgent supplies from the container vessel to stricken regions on shore.