DARPA has successfully completed its Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV) programme, and has officially transferred from the technology demonstration vessel, christened the Sea Hunter, the Office of Naval Research (ONR). (DARPA)
A revolutionary prototype ship that could traverse thousands of miles of open sea, without a single crew member on board, transferred to the Navy of the V. S. researchers.
The 132 meter demonstration ship, christened the Sea Hunter has been transferred from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to the Office of Naval Research (ONR).
The Sea Hunter, the first of a new class of unmanned vessel that could stay at sea for months at a time, is the result of DARPA’s Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV) program. Finally, the new class of ship will be deployed by the U.S. Navy as the Medium of Displacement Unmanned Surface Vessel (MDUSV).
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“If ACTUV transfers from DARPA to ONR, ONR, and looks forward to the continuation of and responsiveness to the science and technology work. In particular, we are already working on autonomous control, a challenging environment is to mature MDUSV and the delivery to the fleet,” explains Robert Brizzolara, ONR program officer for MDUSV, in a statement.
The Sea Hunter has undergone a number of tests on sea. (DARPA)
DARPA and ONR began sea trials of the ship, sensing and autonomy technologies in October 2016, Last year, the Sea Hunter, passed a series of technology integration tests, which relate to the International regulations for Prevention of Collisions at Sea (COLREGS).
“ACTUV represents a new vision of the naval surface warfare that trades a small number of very capable, high-value assets for a large number of standardised, simpler platforms, which are better able to in the total,” said Fred Kennedy, director of DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office (TTO). “The US military has spoken about the strategic importance of replacing ‘king’ and ‘queen’ pieces on the maritime chessboard with lots of ‘pawns’ and ACTUV is a first step in doing exactly that.”
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An important part of the project is to ensure that the Sea Hunter is capable of a large number of different missions with different payloads. In 2016, for example, the ship has participated in an airborne lift test, use of a ‘sensor mast’ full of communication equipment from a parachute is connected to the ship.
Last year the ship underwent mine-countermeasure sea tests.
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More tests will be performed for the automation of loading and the sensor of the data processing, the development of the ship of the autonomous behavior and coordinate with other unmanned vehicles. Depending on the outcome of the tests, MDUSV can be used in the U. S. Navy activities this year, according to DARPA.
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