The U.S. Navy’s newest sub-hunting maritime drone successfully completed preliminary speed and maneuverability testing in preparation for its christening into the fleet this month.
Program officials from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and defense technology firm Leidos are spearheading development of the ACTUV. During the Portland tests, the ship was able to reach a top speed of 27 knots, or 31 miles per hour.
“The ACTUV doesn’t just answer one of the biggest challenges the Navy faces today. It launches an entirely new class of unmanned vessel with vast possibilities for the future,” according to a company statement.
“The program has designed, developed and constructed an entirely new class of ocean-going vessel — one intended to traverse thousands of kilometers over the open seas for months at a time, all without a single crew member aboard,” DARPA officials said.
The ship’s main mission is to find and track diesel-electric submarines. Their relative low cost and very quiet engine noise has made them a favorite several near-peer competitors to the United States, such as Russia and Iran. Tehran reportedly claims to have 17 diesel-electric subs as part of its maritime arsenal.
Full article: U.S. Navy’s new unmanned sub-hunter to hit the seas this month (Spacewar)