DARPA’s Tactically Expandable Maritime Platform (TEMP) program has completed the design of innovative technologies to transform commercial container ships into self-contained floating supply bases during disaster relief operations, without needing port infrastructure. The program envisions a container ship anchoring offshore of a disaster area, and the ship’s crew delivering supplies ashore using DARPA-developed, modular on-board cranes and air- and sea-delivery vehicles.
DARPA recently completed the first phase of the program, which developed four key modular systems, all of which are transportable using standard 20-foot or 40-foot commercial shipping containers.
The elements include:
* Core support modules—container-sized units that provide electrical power, berthing, water and other life-support requirements for an augmented crew aboard the container ship.
* Motion-stabilized cranes—modular on-board cranes to allow transfer of cargo containers at sea from the ship 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 directly 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 ship to stricken areas on shore.