|Posted by George Freund on June 2, 2011 at 8:10 AM|
Furore over `tidal bomb' claims
NEW ZEALAND: Classified files released this week show that a leading professor
in WWII was developing a weapon almost as destructive as the atom bomb
AFP , WELLINGTON
Sunday, Sep 26, 1999, Page 9
February 5, 2005 Taipei Times
Top secret wartime experiments were conducted off the New Zealand coast to
perfect a tidal wave bomb believed to be potentially as effective as the atom
bomb, a report said yesterday citing declassified files.
Auckland University professor Thomas Leech set off a series of underwater
explosions triggering mini-tidal waves at Whangaparaoa, just north of Auckland,
in 1944 and 1945, the New Zealand Herald reported.
His work was considered so significant that US defense chiefs said if the
project had been completed before the end of the war it could have played a role
as effective as that of the atom bomb.
Details of the tsunami bomb, known as Project Seal, are contained in 53-year-old
documents released by the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Papers stamped "top secret" show the US and British military were eager for Seal
to be developed in the post-war years too. They even considered sending Leech to
Bikini Atoll to view the US nuclear tests and see if they had any application to
He did not make the visit, although a member of the US board of assessors of
atomic tests, Dr. Karl Compton, was sent to New Zealand.
"Dr. Compton is impressed with Professor Leech's deductions on the Seal project
and is prepared to recommend to the Joint Chiefs of Staff that all technical
data from the test relevant to the Seal project should be made available to the
New Zealand Government for further study by Professor Leech," said a July 1946
letter from Washington to Wellington.
Leech, who died in his native Australia in 1973, was the university's dean of
engineering from 1940 until 1950.
News of his being awarded a CBE in 1947 for research on a weapon led to
speculation in newspapers around the world about what was being developed.
Though high-ranking New Zealand and US officers spoke out in support of the
research, no details of it were released because the work was on-going.
A former colleague of Leech, Neil Kirton, told the New Zealand Herald that the
experiments involved laying a pattern of explosives underwater to create a
Small-scale explosions were carried out in the Pacific and off Whangaparaoa,
which at the time was controlled by the army.
It is unclear what happened to Project Seal once the final report was forwarded
to Wellington Defense Headquarters late in the 1940s.
The bomb was never tested full scale, and Kirton doubts the public would have
noticed the trials.
"Whether it could ever be resurrected ... Under some circumstances I think it
could be devastating," he said.
US Navy Seaglider Contracts 25/10/2010
iRobot has received two contracts from the Naval Oceanographic Office (NAVOCEANO) at Stennis Space Center, USA. The first contract calls for the delivery of iRobot Seaglider Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUVs), for a total value of up to USD920,000, including options. The company also received a contract valued at up to approximately USD900,000, including options over three years, to refurbish, upgrade and support NAVOCEANO's existing fleet of Seaglider systems.
The iRobot Seaglider is a deep-diving UUV that performs missions lasting many months and covering thousands of miles. It is used by scientists and government agencies to collect various ocean data and can be piloted from anywhere in the world. Seaglider was recently used in the Gulf of Mexico to collect data for scientists researching the effects of the oil spill. iRobot licensed the Seaglider technology from the University of Washington in 2008 and has been improving the design and adding advanced capability. To date, iRobot has received orders for thirty of its Seaglider systems.
More than 135 Seaglider UUVs have been delivered to customers worldwide, including the U.S. Navy, government agencies and research organisations.