Military

Startpoint project imagines the pride of the Royal Navy in 2050

Startpoint project imagines th...
The Dreadnought 2050 concept is project Startpoints vision of the pride of the Royal Navy 35 years from now
The Dreadnought 2050 concept is project Startpoints vision of the pride of the Royal Navy 35 years from now
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The Dreadnought 2050's fantail is used to launch UAVs
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The Dreadnought 2050's fantail is used to launch UAVs
The Dreadnought 2050 is equipped with a railgun
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The Dreadnought 2050 is equipped with a railgun
The Dreadnought 2050 uses energy weapons and supercavitating torpedoes
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The Dreadnought 2050 uses energy weapons and supercavitating torpedoes
The Dreadnought 2050 has a stealth hull construction
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The Dreadnought 2050 has a stealth hull construction
The Dreadnought 2050 has an opening transom for launching a variety of craft
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The Dreadnought 2050 has an opening transom for launching a variety of craft
The Dreadnought 2050 has a trimaran hull
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The Dreadnought 2050 has a trimaran hull
The Dreadnought 2050 concept is project Startpoints vision of the pride of the Royal Navy 35 years from now
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The Dreadnought 2050 concept is project Startpoints vision of the pride of the Royal Navy 35 years from now
The Dreadnought 2050 has a tethered UAV instead of a mast
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The Dreadnought 2050 has a tethered UAV instead of a mast
The Dreadnought 2050 is designed to be highly automated
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The Dreadnought 2050 is designed to be highly automated
The T2050 ops room
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The T2050 ops room
The Dreadnought 2050 Ops Room has holographic displays
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The Dreadnought 2050 Ops Room has holographic displays
View gallery - 11 images

In 1906, the battleship HMS Dreadnought entered into service with the Royal Navy. With her 12-in (305 mm) guns, high speed capabilities and other innovations, she rendered all other major warships obsolete. Inspired by this revolutionary design, the British Ministry of Defence (MoD) think-tank project Startpoint has unveiled its vision of a Navy vessel 35 years from now with the Dreadnought 2050 – an automated fusion-powered surface warship equipped with lasers, hypersonic missiles, a high-tech composite hull, and torpedoes that can travel at over 300 knots (345 mph, 555 km/h).

Dreadnought 2050, or T2050, stems from an informal challenge by the MoD and Royal Navy to young British scientists and engineers from UK naval electronic systems companies and the MoD as part of the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) 2015 exhibition running from September 15 to 18. Its purpose is to stimulate imaginations and encourage thinking that pushes the limits of current engineering.

At the moment, the Dreadnought 2050 is a series of concept images that encapsulate many of the cutting-edge ideas that might make their way into a surface warship of the midcentury. If it ever is built, the Dreadnought 2050 would be 155 m (508 ft) long and 37 m (121 ft) abeam, which would make it about the same size as a Type 26 frigate.

The Dreadnought 2050 is equipped with a railgun
The Dreadnought 2050 is equipped with a railgun

However, that's where the resemblance would end. Dreadnought 2050 would have a streamlined stealth profile and ultra-strong acrylic hull that could be made translucent on command to provide better views. It would also be coated with graphene to reduce drag and stabilized by outrigger hulls in a trimaran configuration. All three hulls would have ballast tanks that could be flooded to make the ship partially submersible for stealth operations.

Propelled by silent electric water jets powered by either a fusion reactor or highly efficient turbines, the Dreadnought 2050 would cruise at 50 knots (57 mph, 92 km/h) and have an unlimited range, depending on its power source. A quadcopter hovering above the ship and attached by a power tether made of carbon nanotubes would host a suite of multi-spectral sensors and laser weapons to take out aircraft and missiles.

The Dreadnought 2050 is designed to be highly automated
The Dreadnought 2050 is designed to be highly automated

The sides of the ship would be armed with additional energy weapons and hypersonic missile launchers, while the outriggers would fire super-cavitating torpedoes capable of traveling at speeds normally associated with airborne missiles.

Meanwhile, in the stern there would be a large, extendable flight deck and hangar for launching and recovering multiple Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), which would be constructed aboard ship using 3D printing technology. These UAVs would be capable of attacking targets as well as surveillance. The flight deck would allow two UAVs to be launched at once, and could also accommodate a medium-sized helicopter.

Below this would be an transom that would open to reveal a large floodable dock for taking on stores and dispatching weapons, Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUV), Royal Marines, and divers. There would also be a moon pool for discretely entering and leaving the ship when the transom is closed.

The T2050 ops room
The T2050 ops room

On the forecastle would be an electromagnetic railgun capable of firing smart munitions at ranges equal to that of today's cruise missiles. Their hypersonic velocities would mean they would destroy targets by kinetic energy rather than the use of explosives.

The key feature of the Dreadnought 2050 is its concept of the Operations or "Ops" Room – the command center of the ship that not only oversees ship operations, but also all of its assets, such as helicopters and landing parties. For Dreadnought 2050, these would include assets ranging from deep sea to deep space.

The main focus is a 3-D holographic command table and attendant communications hubs that would provide a new level of situational awareness. The stereo visual display can be rotated and zoomed as the captain sees fit to focus on specific aspects of a battle at sea, on land, underwater, or in the air. Meanwhile, smaller holographic pods allow the Ops crew to focus on details relevant to their tasks.

The Dreadnought 2050 Ops Room has holographic displays
The Dreadnought 2050 Ops Room has holographic displays

According to Startpoint, the new technology would allow the captain to fix visual contact for thousands of miles, maintain secure real time, and secure voice, video, or data connections with headquarters back in Britain, with NATO, or allied forces. It would also allow all this with an Ops crew of only five instead of today's 25. This automation would extend to all ship operations, allowing the Dreadnought 2050 to trim its crew from today's 200 down to 100 or even 50.

"While some of these technologies push today’s boundaries in science and engineering, there is no reason why elements could not be incorporated into future designs," says Muir Macdonald, a Senior Executive involved with Startpoint. "The Royal Navy needs visionary, innovative thinking and these concepts point the way to cutting edge technology which can be acquired at less cost and operated with less manpower than anything at sea today in the world's leading navies."

Source: Startpoint

View gallery - 11 images
16 comments
Deres
The side walls of the aeronautic deck are pure nonesense ! Just imagine the turbulences it would create on the deck and it would be impossible to operate light UAVs. Moreover, it creates a huge corner which is a magnificient radar reflector destroying all stealthiness.
Nik
WOW! The taxpayers are so lucky to pay for such a beautiful piece of machinery.
Germano Pecoraro
Interesting, but it's only some draws!
Stephen N Russell
like to see in a frigate or DD model prior full blown cruiser. Lisc same for the US Navy?? Looks awesome Need to deter hacking into ships systems underway alone & need hidden armor plating for select ship sections. her name HMS Dreadnaught 2. HMS Victory 2, Intrepid, Repulse. Need to tweek concept for manned copters, hanger bay & manned mini subs too
the.other.will
That's right, SR. A concept based on where technologies might be in 35 years by a company that may not be around in 35 years.
Odyssios
Now about that fusion drive, Captain ... I suspect there are two ways of running a fusion reaction - a self-gravitating mass of gas above a certain mass, aka a 'star', and a fusion weapon. Which had you in mind?
I remember as a little lad hearing about 'ZETA' -'Zero Energy Thermonuclear Assembly', in 1957. The UK govt assured us there'd be fusion power from it within 'a few years.' No fewer than 58 years, and counting.
And with the present direction in govt spending cuts, by 2050 the Royal Navy will be lucky to be able to afford a rubber ducky - and no, that's not a miss-type for 'dinghy'.
Lovely idea, tho. Those UK readers of a certain age will agree with me when I say it would do Dan Dare proud.And his Naval friend, Cdr. Lex O'malley.
Bob Flint
Interesting concept by considering that about 3 quarters of our planet is covered by water, and if this has the speed, & range and cloaking ability. Imagine being able to 3 dimensionally oversee into the deepest oceans, all land masses & the airspace between with the aid of the global satellites.
The details of the ships specifications are important but the strategic advantages light weight, & efficiency are impressive indeed.
Surely there are also many not mentioned technologies to observe the deepest oceans?
groingo2
Lets hope that by 2050 such things have no purpose and the human race quits wasting time and money on war and learns to get along.
As far as its design, first good high seas and the thing would be swamped or overturned because of front and side slopes.
mhpr262
A fusion power plant? Suuuuure ...
While you're at it, why not wish for a fully functional Death Star, then you wouldn't even need this ship. You could just nuke the enemy from orbit.
bwana4swahili
This is so totally practical; NOT!
Just think, if everyone else develops (or buys) the same technology, then no one will be able to see or attack anything! How wonderful!