It seems like only yesterday that American battleships were declared obsolete (though some still exist) because they were sitting ducks, required too much personnel, and their shells were unguided. As well, aircraft carriers suffer from the first two shortcomings. The consensus was that the future of sea warfare was submarines with their stealth, mobility, and guided missiles.
While still a long way off from challenging the United States as the predominant world naval power, China’s modernized People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) is beginning to take a more assertive role in an expanding theater of operations.Previously content on patrolling coastal waters and preparing for an armed conflict with Taiwan, China now has a naval presence all along commercial sea routes to the Middle East and has stepped up military operations in the contested waters of the East and South China Seas.
Shape Memory Alloys are materials that can expand or contract according to temperature variations and then return to their previous form. A group of researchers from Texas University, under prof. Othon Rediniotis, is exploring the possible use of these materials in order to build small ships that can move silently and without leaving wake traces.