US Navy working on seasteads

We are not the only ones to recognize the opportunities offered by the ocean’s dynamic geography. From The Economist:

Foreign military bases have both political and practical difficulties. “Seabasing” may offer a solution

BASING troops and equipment on foreign soil is fraught with difficulty. Even friendly countries can cut up rough at crucial moments, as America found when Turkey restricted the use of its territory and airspace during the invasion of Iraq in 2003. In an occupied country the situation is worse, as a base is a magnet for attacks. Nor can you always put your base where you need it. If a country does not want to host it, and cannot be bribed to, that—short of invasion—is that.

But no one owns the high seas, and partisans rarely have access to serious naval power. So America, still the world’s only superpower and thus the one with most need for foreign bases, is investigating the idea of building military bases on the ocean. They would, in effect, be composed of parts that can be rearranged like giant Lego bricks. The armed forces could assemble them when needed, add to them, subtract from them and eventually dismantle them when they are no longer required—and all without leaving a trace.

While I’m sure the Navy came up with the idea of modular sea bases independently, the article’s use of the word “Seabasing” looks an awfully lot like our influence.


1 thought on “US Navy working on seasteads”

  1. It would probably be better if the U.S. military were not interested in setting up bases on the ocean.  If they are then that already puts them in potential conflict with us.  For example if they’re thinking about how to build bases on the ocean, then they’re also planning how to defend and attack them.

    The activity also invites futher international “regulation” meaning finding ways to control, restrict or prohibit private settlement, etc.  In this case interest is generally a bad thing. 

    On the other hand technologies developed could be copied, particularly if the work is done with tax money.  However it seems that they’re going away form the complecity fo platforms on pontoons to rafting ships together.  The special technology is a bridge between ships:

    14 ships in the new replacement class will continue to store supplies in this way. But, in addition, they will have room to berth 2,000 servicemen, or between 20 and 30 vertical-take-off aircraft, or hundreds of ground vehicles. More impressively, each ship will carry a folding bridge, about 30 metres long, to connect it to its neighbour. These bridges—regarded as the linchpins of seabasing—will remain stable in swells of up to 2 metres. They will allow vehicles the size of lorries to drive from one ship to another.

    There is also new technology in smart, computer-controlled cranes that use lasers and radar to watch what the nearby waves are doing to load standard shipping containers even if the ships are moving due to waves:

    By measuring the motions of nearby waves and vessels with radar and lasers, the software running a crane can predict exactly how a ship will be pushed, and react accordingly. A crane developed by America’s Office of Naval Research (ONR) in collaboration with Oceaneering and Siemens, a German industrial giant, automatically adjusts its position to compensate for ship movements the moment they begin.

    As to where they got the ideas from, it should be easy enough to telephone the relevant parties and ask them.  Seriously.

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