Feeds

US Navy plans self-building floating fortresses

Swimming, stacking ISO containers: Just add SEALs

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

But normal warships are ill-suited for such jobs, being designed for high-intensity warfare against high tech enemies. They can make a useful effort at disaster relief, and a less useful one against pirates or blockade-runners, but they are so expensive and thus so scarce it's difficult to get much done with them.

Thus TEMP, which seeks to deliver effective sea power using humble container vessels rather than hecamillion- or multibillion-dollar purpose-built warships.

Firstly, there will be a relatively normal effort to create a snap-together instant ISO-box kit which would turn the host ship into a useful platform.

The right mix of ISO-sized modules would then allow a conventional containership to be temporarily acquired and staffed for a useful military function which relieves the burden on conventional force structure. A certain set of modules would be required for any TEMP mission, such as military communications, command and control, expanded habitability functions, expanded power generation, damage control, and self-defense / force protection. Another set of modules would be mission specific, allowing the ship to be converted to a platform capable of accomplishing a specific mission, such as HA/DR or maritime domain awareness and interdiction operations.

This much has more or less already happened. The British fleet at least is already well accustomed to carrying out various military tasks using (often temporarily) modified merchant ships. Sometimes these ships are in regular Ministry of Defence service as Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessels, but sometimes they are just hastily converted merchantmen, as happened in many cases during the Falklands War.

But having a ready-made ISO container set all ready to go would be very handy. A set of modules could be kept parked up on road trailers, ready to be hauled out to a container port and swiftly put aboard ship for deployment. As DARPA points out, some would be standard for every job: comms shack, command cell, living quarters, power and so on. Others - perhaps pop-up weapons stations, UAV or aircraft hangar/pad units etc - would be added depending on the job.

A fleet of cheaply-chartered container ships kitted out with helicopter-pad and marine boarding team units would be able to fight the pirates of the Horn of Africa far more cheaply and effectively than frigates and destroyers can, for instance.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Voyager 1 now EIGHTEEN LIGHT HOURS from home
Almost 20 BEEELION kilometres from Sol
Ex-Soviet engines fingered after Antares ROCKET launch BLAST
Speculation rife, but Orbital claims it's too early to tell
MEN: For pity's sake SLEEP with LOTS of WOMEN - and avoid Prostate Cancer
And, um, don't sleep with other men. If that's what worries you
Jim Beam me up, Scotty! WHISKY from SPAAACE returns to Earth
They're insured for $1m, before you thirsty folks make plans
ROGUE SAIL BOAT blocks SPACE STATION PODULE blastoff
Er, we think our ISS launch beats your fishing expedition
NASA: Spacecraft crash site FOUND ON MOON RIM
'What fun!' exlaims NASA boffin who found the LADEE
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
BAE points electromagnetic projectile at US Army
Railguns for 'Future fighting vehicle'
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.
The Heartbleed Bug: how to protect your business with Symantec
What happens when the next Heartbleed (or worse) comes along, and what can you do to weather another chapter in an all-too-familiar string of debilitating attacks?