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This week, on April 7th, the USN will launch its first “drone ship”. The first tests have satisfied DARPA – Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency – which has published the video showing the vessel, which will not have any crew on board, reaching a speed of 27 knots in a sea trial off Portland, Oregon, in the Pacific Ocean.
The drone ship is 132 feet and it is the first model the USN has built to achieve some difficult underwater missions: drone ships will in fact used to intercept the presence of submarines. Tests have proved that on-board systems have identified a submarine at about one kilometre of distance through the detection of its engine noise (anhybrid electric-diesel one). One of the captains of the operation has declared that, from a technical point of view, it is an important step forward we can compare to the identification of ” the noise of a single engine in the city din”.
The fleet (which have a very long name, Anti-Submarine Warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessels, generally shortened with ACTUV) can be used in lots of operations: ship support, underwater mine detection, logistical operations. The advantage of having no people on board is evident because it reduces the risk of the operations with a good economic saving. Moreover, the drone-ships can achieve operations lasting up to 3 months.
The drone-ship will be put to sea next summer in California. So, if you are sail there, remember that there’s a 40-metre-boat sailing at 27 knots with no people on board. And all this for your safety.