The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has given EB $26 million, so far, to design it and another $12 million expected by the end of the year.
The vehicle could potentially transport high-value cargo or small groups of people at 100 knots (about 115 miles an hour) in a program known as “Underwater Express.”
”The real reason we buy nuclear submarines instead of non-nuclear ones is that we're not protecting the Gulf of Mexico,” said retired Navy Capt. James Patton Jr., president of Submarine Tactics and Technology in North Stonington tells the Day of New London. “We go halfway around the world, real quick. We get there and we stay there. Anything that would allow you to get a platform somewhere a long ways away pretty quickly would have great military value.”
The technology, if developed, could revolutionize ocean transportation if it could be adapted to cargo and passenger ships.
The vehicle would travel inside a large gas bubble created in the water, a process known as supercavitation. The bubble reduces drag, since the drag is much lower in air than in water, allowing the vehicle to travel at high speeds.