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Marine

The remarkable part boat, part sled, part ground-effect Tupelov aerosled

November 6, 2006 As the knowledge of the world begins to rush rather than seep across the barriers of language and distance via the internet, whole new areas of regionalised human endeavour are becoming visible to the world, and the glorious history of the Russian aerosled is a case in point. H. G. Wells once wrote, “Adapt or perish, now as ever, is nature's inexorable imperative.” Getting from point A to point B has not always been as easy as it is today. Man’s need to cross the deserts, oceans, forests, mountains and the skies above them has seen many fascinating conveyances built specifically for a given task and the aerosled was devised to cross the vast frozen Russian tundra. It evolved from an adapted horse-drawn sleigh powered by a pusher prop 100 years ago to become a thriving ski-automobile industry and with sponsorship from the Russian Military in the Cold War era, developed capabilities that are truly extraordinary. The January Barrett-Jackson Collector Car auction is to include a fully-restored N007 Tupolev – the vehicle appears to be one of the early prototypes and is the only-known Russian-built aerosled to make it to the United States. Designed by Andrei Tupolev, one of the founders and key figures of Soviet Aviation, the N007 can propel through and protect its occupants from the sub-zero conditions common in the Northern Russian tundra. Powered by a 365 hp nine-cylinder radial engine it hovers just over water, marshland, ice or snow and given a flat stretch, is claimed to reach 80 mph. Part ground effect aircraft, part boat but mainly a sled, the N007 is a priceless example of human being’s ability to adapt and conquer any terrain. Over 800 examples were produced, but it’s a fair bet that this is one of the earliest and most authentic of this second generation aerosleds. Watch for our coverage of the new third generation aerosled later this week.  Read More

Patent granted for walking on water invention

October 31, 2006 History suggests humans have always been captivated with the possibility of walking on water with references to it in Christianity, Hinduism and Buddhism. In Egyptian mythology the god Horus walked on water, and in Greek mythology Orion, the son of the gods walked on water. Indeed, Leonardo da Vinci even conceived a set of shoes and stocks which would enable this highly improbable act. Now, thanks to an invention by Massachusetts inventor Yoav Rosen, it seems we may be in need of a new colloquialism for the impossible. Rosen’s Da Vinci-like pontoon shoes have just been granted a patent by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for an “Upright Human Floatation Apparatus And Propulsion Mechanism” and enable him to do just that (video here). Rosen’s company wishes to focus its business activities on its equally remarkable standing kayaks, and is seeking to license or sell its water-walking technology. We spoke with Rosen about his invention. See a video here.  Read More

New Royal Navy unmanned fast inshore attack craft

October 30, 2006 Last week saw the commissioning of two new boats into the UK’s Royal Navy in the form of two remotely controlled Fast Inshore Attack Craft for use during live firing training exercises. Comprising a rigid inflatable boat capable of moving at speed either independently, or while towing a target, the FIAC RT is operated remotely. This allows its operator to conduct manoeuvres safely and realistically whilst live firing training exercises are conducted with small calibre weapons at close proximity to the Naval platform 'under attack'. The design of the craft exploits the technology developed by QinetiQ engineers that helped the RN to clear a key strategic waterway of mines in Iraq during Operation TELIC - the first time the RN used unmanned surface vessels in an operational role.  Read More

ABN AMRO ONE retires from round-the-world racing and sets itself for Rolex Sydney to Hobar...

October 19, 2006 ABN AMRO ONE, the winner of the 2005-6 Volvo Round-the-world Ocean Race will sail in the 2006 Rolex Sydney–Hobart Yacht Race. The world-class race begins its 62nd running on December26 and takes the fleet out of spectacular Sydney Harbour then down the East Coast of Australia, across treacherous Bass Strait finishing in Hobart, Tasmania. The crew has its sights firmly on line honours and a race record if the conditions suit the wide-transom boat. The current race record of 42 hours, 14 minutes and 10 seconds is held by Wild Oats.  Read More

First non-military diver detection system sold

September 28, 2006 QinetiQ recently made the first private, non-military sale of its Cerberus high performance diver and swimmer detection sonar system into the yacht market. The system will be deployed to protect a large private yacht and its passengers while at anchor or alongside in harbour. Cerberus, designed to provide early warning of underwater threats to ships and other high value assets, has previously been trailed with naval forces around the world and is currently under extended evaluation with the US Navy. A Cerberus unit will be accommodated in a specially designed moon-pool built into the hull of the private yacht and is expected to go into service in early 2007. Cerberus is able to detect and locate swimmers and divers at ranges exceeding 800 metres, providing operators with sufficient time to establish whether that individual represents a threat and decide upon an appropriate response.  Read More

First Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Launched

September 26, 2006 The LCS is finally in the water, and one of the most anticipated combat ships in history has moved a step closer to deployment. There are two types of LCS (the other is the Austal-designed General Dynamics Trimaran) and the first Lockheed Martin LCS (previous stories here, here and here) was last week christened FREEDOM (LCS-1). The agile 377-foot FREEDOM is the inaugural ship in an entirely new class of U.S. Navy surface warships is designed to help the Navy defeat growing littoral, or close-to-shore, threats and provide access and dominance in coastal water battlespace. Displacing 3,000 metric tons and with a capability of reaching speeds well over 40 knots, FREEDOM will be a fast, maneuverable and networked surface combatant with operational flexibility to execute focused missions, such as mine warfare, anti-submarine warfare, surface warfare and humanitarian relief.  Read More

Remote-Control Pool Skimmer

September 2, 2006 Love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life. Accordingly, if you can find a way of making disagreeable chores fun, you’re well on the way to making your whole life super peachy keen outside of work. We’ve previously written about how to make mowing the lawn fun, and now here’s a way to make skimming the pool equally enticing – so enticing that you might be able to find others to do it for you. The US$140 Jet Net Remote-Control Pool Skimmer removes leaves, and assorted debris from your swimming pool's surface. The two foot long remote-control catamaran runs on 9 volt rechargeable Ni-MH batteries and does all the work while you laze in the sun up to 100 feet away. Via our esteemed colleague Red at the The Red Ferret Journal  Read More

The Protector Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV)

August 17, 2006 It might be remote controlled and small, but it’s not a toy boat by a long shot. Indeed, it’s the only operational Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV) that exists today having successfully served in the Persian Gulf and Mediterranean. Developed by Israel’s Rafael Armament Development Authority in response to emerging terrorist threats against maritime assets, the Protector is stealthy, highly autonomous and can operate with general guidance from a commander in port, riverine, harbour and coastal waterways in a variety of roles, thanks to the plug-and-play design of its various mission modules, such as force protection, anti-terror, surveillance and reconnaissance, mine warfare and electronic warfare. The options include a highly accurate, stabilized mini-Typhoon weapon system with an excellent hit-and-kill probability, plus cameras, search radar and a Toplite electro-optical (EO) pod for detection, identification and targeting operations.  Read More

Rinspeed Splash makes amphibious English Channel attempt

July 27, 2006 The English channel is without doubt the world’s busiest waterway, even before the raft of record attempts we have seen for amphibious vehicles in recent times. Yet another amphibious vehicle took to the waters this week, and although the outright amphibious vehicle record remained intact, and the amphibious car record also remained unscathed, there’s a new record for hydrofoil amphibians which has been set by Rinspeed and its outrageous Splash concept car.  Read More

The flight of the Manta Ray

July 14, 2006 Last month we ran a story on the Kite Tube, a human-bearing inflatable towable water kite and within a week we’ve been sent another one – the Manta Ray has an 11 foot wingspan and is specially designed body to allow an average-sized body to rise out of the water and hover in the air. It takes approximately 23 mph moving to get an average sized adult airborn and hovering but as can be seen from this video, once the Manta Ray is airborn, it can hang there for very long period. Now Sevylor “absolutely discourages attempting to hover with two people” but there’s two seats and … aw shucks! At $US499 it comes in one hundred dollars below the Kite Tube and is distributed across the world.Please note that the Kite Tube has now been withdrawn from the market for safety reasons.  Read More

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