Northrop Grumman Project NNEMO


Donald McKelvy
Senior Member
14 August 2009
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Northrop Grumman NNEMO1 (Newport News Experimental Model 1) press release:

"Northrop Grumman Christens Submarine Model"

NEWPORT NEWS, Va., December 2, 2003 – Northrop Grumman (NYSE: NOC) Newport News held a christening ceremony on November 19 for its submarine model concept called Newport News Experimental Model 1 (NNemo 1). NNemo 1 is a scaled, radio-controlled submarine model of Newport News' advanced hull form concept submarine design. Testing of NNemo 1 will take place at a Virginia lake in December. Data from the testing will help predict full-scale ship performance in turning, verify dynamic stability, and allow for the development of emergency recovery procedures.

Northrop Grumman Newport News designed and developed NNemo 1 through independent research and development. The revolutionary design is based on innovative pressure hull technologies, structural materials, and electric propulsion systems developed at Northrop Grumman Newport News to operate and maneuver the submarine in shallower water. The Naval Surface Warfare Center – Carderock Division provided general design guidance.

"We're looking forward to NNemo's journey and the contributions it will provide to the future of submarine warfare," said Walt Floyd, manager of Submarine Technology at Northrop Grumman Newport News. "What we learn from this project will help us to design future generation submarines that will be safe for the crew while remaining highly-effective, war-fighting platforms."

NNemo 1 was built by Sias-Patterson, Inc, a small business in Yorktown, Va. devoted to the design and manufacture of Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs). Northrop Grumman's Electronic Systems and Integrated Systems also contributed to the project. Integrated Systems provided the navigation unit and Electronic Systems provided assistance with the propellers.

Northrop Grumman Newport News, headquartered in Newport News, Va., is the nation’s sole designer, builder, and refueler of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and one of only two companies capable of designing and building nuclear powered submarines. Newport News also provides after-market services for a wide array of naval and commercial vessels. The Newport News sector employs about 18,000 people.

The shape of things to come for a US Navy littoral submarine combatant?


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Re: Northrop Grumman NNEMO 1

Looks like a stubby Typhoon. One wonders if a similar role might be imagined. Perhaps a big fat array of vertical launch tubes for Standard missiles, cruise missiles, RATTLRS, whatever....
Re: Northrop Grumman NNEMO 1

Maybe it will be wide enough across to fit two rows of 120" diameter missile tubes -
Re: Northrop Grumman NNEMO 1

The aft between the propellers might have a docking lock for a ASDS and UUV's.
I have seen such concepts here somewhere in this forum or in the internet.
Re: Northrop Grumman NNEMO 1

Wind tunnel model of a Northrup Grumman NNEMO concept undergoing testing at NASA Langley Research Center.



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Re: Northrop Grumman NNEMO 1

Another photo of the NNEMO 1... and a 2007 photo of the NNEMO 2.

Yes, yes... ???


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prolific1 said:
Wind tunnel testing?

Fluid is fluid. The FW 190 was designed using water tunnels because they were cheaper to build and operate than wind tunnels.

This design is clearly a hydrodynamic demonstrator for one of the Forward Pass design concepts.


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"Engineers at Northrop Grumman try to build a better submarine"
By JON W. GLASS, The Virginian-Pilot© July 6, 2007


In bits and pieces, ship designers and engineers at Northrop Grumman Newport News are trying to build a better submarine.

They're aiming for technology breakthroughs, such as figuring out novel ways to launch weapons and retrieve unmanned submersibles. They also are working on a new hull design - a wide oval shape, rather than the cylindrical tubes of today.

Their efforts could help save taxpayers a bundle of money - and protect their own jobs.

The work, paid for in part by the company's research-and-development dollars, is being done in the absence of a formal Navy program for a new submarine design - and uncertainty over when money will be made available to begin it.

Major design work for the Virginia-class fast-attack subs, being assembled by Northrop Grumman and partner General Dynamics Electric Boat, is done. It could be seven more years before the next submarine design begins - to replace the Ohio-class ballistic-missile subs.

Both Navy and industry officials worry that too long a gap could result in the loss of critical shipyard skills and drive up the cost of building the next class of submarines by more than $1 billion. A $975,000 study recently done for the Navy by the Rand Corp., an independent think tank, underscored those potential problems.

"The Rand study confirms what we thought, which is this is a fragile design base that needs to be sustained," said Rear Adm. William Hilarides, the Navy's program executive officer for submarines.

The submarine development work the Peninsula shipbuilder is piecing together is viewed as one key way to weather the gap.

"Working with the technologies that may apply to submarines is one way we can keep our engineers and designers sharp and current and ready to step up to the plate when the next design comes along," said Charlie Butler, the shipbuilder's director of submarine engineering.

Company officials would not disclose how much money Northrop Grumman is spending on the design R&D.

One of the major internally funded projects, now beginning to attract Navy interest, is known by the acronym NNemo, for Newport News Experimental Model.

Launched in 2003, the NNemo project involves research on a new hull shape that is shorter and wider than the existing tube-shaped submarines.

Currently, company engineers and designers are working on their second prototyp e, built to about 1/20th scale.

With the NNemo, engineers are looking for a submarine that can handle more payloads, accommodate more intelligence-gathering sensors, and is faster and easier to maneuver, said Pete Diakun, the shipbuilder's director of technology development.

"We started from the standpoint of looking at the art of possibilities, not to be in the paradigm of a standard cylindrical submarine," Diakun said.

Making the boat wider, for instance, added room to install twin drive shafts, which allows for quicker turns and significantly improved maneuverability and the ability to operate in shallower water, said Walt Floyd, the company's manager of submarine technology.

The model's broader tail provided space for a sensor array to be installed, giving a sub crew a 360-degree view around the boat, an advantage over a conventionally shaped sub, he said.

The remote-controlled prototypes have been tested in a wind tunnel at NASA Langley Research Center to measure fluid flow and force and torque on the hull and have undergone water trials in the crystal clear waters of a rock quarry.

Later this year, a representative hull-section model - 16 feet long, 10 feet wide and 30,000 pounds - will be put in a Navy pressure tank to test how deep such a submarine could dive before it collapses.

That is an indication of the Navy's increasing interest in NNemo, Diakun said. "That's really a step forward for us," he said.

To date, the Navy has not provided direct funding for NNemo. However, the service has awarded money for other submarine research the company is now doing.

For instance, the Navy and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency earlier this year awarded the shipbuilder $12.7 million to work on an external weapons launcher.

That work is part of a larger project meant to find ways to overcome technical barriers in submarine construction, called Tango Bravo in Navyspeak.
Figuring out a way to mount a submarine's torpedo launchers outside the pressure hull - the challenge for Northrop Grumman's team - would free up interior space for other uses and eliminate the big expense of extending torpedo tubes through a sub's hull, Butler said.

The Navy's Hilarides said such work, including ongoing efforts by the Newport News and Electric Boat yards to make design changes to drive down costs on the Virginia-class subs, helps buffer the industry before work ramps up on a new Ohio-class design.

Concern over the next submarine design is heightened partly because this is the first time a new design has not been under way, or about to begin, since the Pentagon launched its nuclear-powered sub program about five decades ago.

But ultimately, Hilarides said, military needs come first in the decision on when to begin the Ohio-class design work.

"Industrial policy should not drive war-fighting requirements," Hilarides said.

"We'll see how that plays in the Pentagon as they debate the war-fighting requirements first, before we get the industrial policy out in front of it."

Abraham Gubler said:
This design is clearly a hydrodynamic demonstrator for one of the Forward Pass design concepts.

Abraham, I would be very interested to see any additional information you might have on Forward PASS (Payload and Sensors for Submarines).
The outer hull shape in NNEMO is certainly similar to that multiple pressure hull concept from Forward PASS (it looks a bit fatter, and obviously the sail is back). However, it's not a given that the internal arrangements are the same. Northrop Grumman wasn't actually part of Forward PASS; it was in Team 2020, the other team developing future submarine concepts for ONR c. 1998-2001. Of course, it's been nearly a decade since that effort wrapped up, so there may have been newer studies or teaming arrangements. Or it may be a case of independent development.
As I understand it, there is a third variant that is/was under testing, though I have not seen any details on it. Also, I have been told that the sail on the NNemo1 was a Virginia class sail, and that should give you an estimate on the size.

fightingirish said:
The aft between the propellers might have a docking lock for a ASDS and UUV's.
I have seen such concepts here somewhere in this forum or in the internet.

TomS said:
I'm fairly sure that's not actually a pre-NSSN concept, but rather a concept for the Advanced Sail, which may show up in later years production of the Virginia class.
For a survey of several other NSSN successor designs proposed back around 2002, see this PDF of an article from International Defense Review:
Yes, I found it. ;D


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Regarding the internal layout with hat tip to the Forward PASS concepts, maybe the internal pressure hull layout is like a trident or Y shape? A long central pressure hull that ends under a rear sail, and two side pressure hulls that start roughly at the rear sail and go aft? This would create a equipment space in the rear that would be suitable for a UUV or manned vehicle hangar space. Then the area forward of the side hulls is all weapons, and in an attempt to reduce overall height have inclined weapons/missile tubes like an Oscar class submarine along with the pop-out weapons clips of Forward PASS?

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