Resilience, Peace and Security

This US Navy drone ship has no crew but can hunt down enemy submarines

A new autonomous ship has joined the U.S. Navy, equipped with computers and cameras to find enemy ships.

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Fragility, Violence and Conflict

An experimental anti-submarine drone warship developed by DARPA has officially been transferred to the US Navy's research office.

It looks like something out of Star Trek, but for the water — and the analogy isn't too far off, either.

The anti-submarine warfare continuous trail unmanned vessel — AC TUV for short — is a futuristic drone ship outfitted with computers, sensors, and cameras, all intent on searching for and tracking enemy submarines.

And since it's fully autonomous, there's no crew onboard or humans controlling it remotely.

It's nicknamed the "Sea Hunter" and it could be a game changer for the Navy. Take a look:

The Sea Hunter is an experimental vessel funded by DARPA, the Pentagon's research and development arm. It was recently transferred to US Navy researchers.
Image: BI
We saw the ship in May 2016, when DARPA showed off the new ship in San Diego. Over the next two years, the ship underwent sea trials to see whether it can succeed on the open water.
Image: BI
"We're really in for some exciting times," Jerry Dejaco, test director for the US Navy, said in 2016.
Image: BI

The 132-foot-long ship is sort of like a big floating computer. Instead of bunks and gear for sailors like on a normal ship, the Sea Hunter just has computers inside.

Image: BI

Note: DARPA wouldn't let Tech Insider inside the vessel, so this is just a file photo of a server room. A spokesman said only that the "brains of the ship" was five racks of servers.

It also has sophisticated radar and sonar sensors and a suite of high-tech cameras.
Image: BI
If it ever goes to sea for real, the Navy will program it to operate in a certain location ...
Image: BI
... And the Sea Hunter will just automatically sail around and look for enemy subs, mines, and other things of interest.
Image: BI
If it finds a sub for example, it will follow it from two miles away and then alert the fleet.
Image: BI
All without any human control.
Image: BI
Have you read?
It has no weapons onboard, but it's fast and highly mobile.
Image: BI
"Speed is its defense," Dejaco said. "It's very fast." Its top speed is about 31 miles per hour.
Image: BI
It can also operate by itself over a long distance without refueling. “This vessel can go from [California] to Hawaii and back," Dejaco said.
Image: BI
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