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.

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
LIFE, JIM? Comet probot lander found 'ORGANICS' on far-off iceball
That's it for God, then – if Comet 67P has got complex molecules
Rosetta probot drilling DENIED: Philae has its 'LEG in the AIR'
NOT best position for scientific fulfillment
'Yes, yes... YES!' Philae lands on COMET 67P
Plucky probot aces landing on high-speed space rock - emotional scenes in Darmstadt
HUMAN DNA 'will be FOUND ON MOON' – rocking boffin Brian Cox
Crowdfund plan to stimulate Blighty's space programme
THERE it is! Philae comet lander FOUND in EXISTING Rosetta PICS
Crumb? Pixel? ALIEN? Better, it's a comet-catcher!
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The MIGHTY Scotch egg
Off to the boozer? This delicacy might help mitigate the effects
I'M SO SORRY, sobs Rosetta Brit boffin in 'sexist' sexy shirt storm
'He is just being himself' says proud mum of larger-than-life physicist
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
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.
Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence
Download Choosing a Cloud Hosting Provider with Confidence to learn more about cloud computing - the new opportunities and new security challenges.
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.