Opportunities Under The Sea

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The sea holds many mysteries that we do not and probably will not understand for many years. However, military investment in the sea will continue to grow over the next 50 years, making it a good investment possibility. The information in this article from the 1960s gives some good insight into the industry, and where to watch for new opportunities.

Harris Upham analysts saw potential economic benefits "staggering" in scope from the exploration of the depths, including the fish, offshore oil fields and strategic minerals. According to John N. Wilford of The Wall Street Journal, scientists search oceans for new drugs, chemicals and clues to human cell behavior.

"The sea," said Mr. Wilford. "Already supplies vitamins and minerals. Iodine, for example, comes from seaweed; milk of magnesia is made from magnesium extracted from sea water. Cod liver oil and oil from the soupfin shark are common sources of vitamins. But the sea holds a treasure of other chemicals; as drug sleuths find it tougher to dig up new sources on land, their interest is being drawn to the sea."

Countless exploration possibilities in the depth of the waves have been opening up by the advanced techniques in charting the ocean floor which itself was made possible by the development of a method of calculating the water depth by measuring the time it takes for sound to be sent to the ocean floor and return to the surface.

Of immediately prime national concern, however, is the military threat posed by the advent of a Soviet nuclear-powered, missile-firing submarine fleet which can remain hidden indefinitely to launch its missiles from beneath the sea at any point within millions of square miles of ocean. It will open a new ocean the Arctic to a potential enemy and expose the North American continent to possible close-range assault.

The impressive capacities of the Navy's Polaris serve as a reminder of the reality of this great potential danger from the sea, which represents a strategic threat of an entirely new order of magnitude.

Indicative of this trend is the Navy's intensive, though as yet quiet, study of antisubmarine warfare that may eventually result in the establishment of a global ocean surveillance system.

The antisubmarine survey contemplates some grandiose measures to counter the Soviet threat. The problem involves not only detection but identification and then destruction.

An ocean surveillance system would establish and integrate all detection media, including sonar or sound detection, radar, infrared, visual and other means. It would require an immense setup for data collection and evaluation. It would also require the development of a whole range of detection and identification devices and of new antisubmarine weapons.

There is every likelihood that this area of defense will be one receiving the largest percentage increase in funding from future defense budgets. Indicative of this trend is the quiet but substantial rise in the Navy's expenditures on its Sonobuoy's submarine detection systems and equipment.

Magnavox's backlog of military orders, for instance, was raised late in 1961 to $115 million from $86 million in June of the same year, with antisubmarine business accounting for $50 million. The strategic handwriting is plainly on the wall. Investors should do well to cash in on new profit opportunities in this growing field.

Still growing? Probably more now than ever, with modern technology and new global needs. Savvy investors continue to look to the sea for rich sources of investment opportunities.

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