The U.S. Navy’s largest unmanned surface vehicle designed to track Chinese and Russian subs will be christened in April.
The Pentagon’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), an agency responsible for developing and testing cutting-edge military technologies, will test-launch the prototype of its 140-ton Anti-Submarine Warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV), named Sea Hunter, in April this year, the deputy director of DARPA, Steve Walker, said, according to National Defense Magazine.
The 132-feet (40 meters) long Sea Hunter, an unmanned autonomous trimaran, will be christened in April 2016 at the Vigor Shipyards in Oregon and immediately afterwards commence sea-trials for 18 months to test its long-range tracking capabilities, among a host of other things. During the testing DARPA will closely cooperate with the Office of Naval Research and the Space and Naval Systems Warfare Command.
The ship’s primary mission will be tracking enemy subs in shallow waters, I noted in June 2015 (See: “US Navy to Deploy Robot Ships to Track Chinese and Russian Subs”). Furthermore, I explained that the ACTUV “is designed to operate autonomously for 60 to 90 days straight, surveil large stretches of ocean territory and — should an enemy sub be spotted — guide other U.S. naval assets to the vessel’s location to destroy it (the ACTUV itself is unarmed).”
The ACTUV will only cost about $15,000 to $20,000 per day to operate, according to Scott Littlefield, program manager of DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office, quoted in Sea Magazine. (In comparison, a destroyers costs around $700,000 to operate per day.) DARPA’s website notes that the ACTUV’s “objective is to generate a vessel design that exceeds state-of-the art platform performance to provide propulsive overmatch against diesel electric submarines at a fraction of their size and cost.”
Full article: World’s Largest Anti-Submarine Robot Ship Ready for Sea-Trials in April (The Diplomat)