The Royal Navy is diving deep into design for futuristic submarines. Four recently revealed concepts from the United Kingdom Naval Engineering Science and Technology Forum take inspiration from living things. The sleek Nautilus 100 submarine looks like a manta ray, while the Eel’s shape is self-explanatory. It uses sine wave propulsion to push itself along without alerting enemy sensors. That rounded hull would be 3D printed from acrylic bonded with metal alloys. It’s imagined to be able to zip along at up to 150 knots or 173 miles per hour.
The unpiloted Eel vehicle would coordinate with the Nautilus, serving as secondary weapons carriers and a sensor hub. In turn, the Eels could also hold small drones for reconnaissance as well as heavily-armed drones called Flying Fish. All of these graceful weapons portend a grim and resource-strapped future: they’re designed to operate in open ocean during periods of steep competition for deep-ocean resources such as minerals and farmed fish.
These are just concepts for now, though, especially the parts that shade into science fiction. The designers of the Nautilus includes the possibility of “neuro-interfacing,” meaning the pilot could — if this ever gets made — control it with their brain.