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Science & Technology
Pentagon Developing Underwater Sub Drones
2012-11-25
Surveillance drones in US airspace is soon to be inevitable, but what about unmanned vehicles patrolling the seas? The Pentagon is working hard at perfecting a stealth underwater drone for maritime monitoring.

Science Applications International Corporation of McLean, Virginia was recently awarded a contract from the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, valued at over $58 million. With that funding, researchers have already begun working on an underwater vessel that will take the surveillance abilities that make aerial drones such a hot commodity and use it to send an unmanned submarine to sweep the sea for potential hazards.

According to DARPA, enemy submarines are being built right now with competing technology, allowing America’s foes to perhaps find a way to sneak unmanned vessels of their own around US bases across the globe. That’s why the Pentagon has contracted a team to work on an Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel, or ACTUV, which they say will be able to address a serious emerging threat.

“The growing number of adversaries able to build and operate quiet diesel electric submarines is a national security threat that affects US and friendly naval operations around the world,” writes DARPA.

Still in the early days of testing, the Science Applications International Corporation is now in the midst of stages two through four of the process, which involve design, construction and demonstration of a submarine that can spend months underwater without requiring a single human operator on board. If their prototype proves successful, software will need to be scripted, a finalized ship will be built, and the drone sub will begin supporting at-sea government testing. DARPA predicts the ships will be ready to go underwater for their first test runs in mid-2015.

In addition to scoping out any underwater adversaries interesting in attacking the United States or its bases, these drone subs could also be deployed to search for any other vessels that could compromise America’s interest. Earlier this year RT reported on the growing number of stealth subs used to move narcotics from Central America into the US, and just this month it was reported that a nuclear-powered Russian attack submarine sailed to within 200 miles of the United States before it was first spotted. Sending subs into the sea to search for these types of hazards is already an option, but deploying unmanned vehicles in dangerous situations might soon be the norm.
Posted by:Au Auric

#8  We have one, caller a Torpedo.
Posted by: Redneck Jim   2012-11-25 20:15  

#7  Seems there a word for that also starts with an 's'

I was gonna guess shand grenade. Yeah, the 's' is silent.
Posted by: SteveS   2012-11-25 17:39  

#6  sharks with laser beams on their heads - that's what we need
Posted by: Frank G   2012-11-25 16:34  

#5  As I recall, many warships have a built in anti swimmer device called sonar.

Some ports, notably foreign ones, also take a dim view of sonar pinging. It creates difficulties for them. Places like Bahrain already have problems with Shiites. Imagine Shiite fishermen claiming that active sonar is driving away fish and killing their livelihood. May or may not be true, but it does put the host in a difficult situation. Other places might allow US warships to dock, but don't want attention called to that. Active sonar kinda draws attention. Not a good idea to piss off one's hosts. Especially when there are so few of them left.

Sometimes it's better to quietly slip in a few anti-swimmer units into a harbor. It's quiet, low key, and effective. The host nation can exercise plausible deniability. It doesn't call attention to the visiting warships.

Seems there a word for that also starts with an 's'... oh, yes. 'subtle'.

Look it up.
Posted by: Pappy   2012-11-25 15:52  

#4  Explains all the whales washing up on the Atlantic side of Florida during WWII, well, that and the random depth charges.
Posted by: Shipman   2012-11-25 15:39  

#3  As I recall, many warships have a built in anti swimmer device called sonar. Since active sonar has a range of miles, if you ping every few minutes, any swimmers near by will be severely affected.
Posted by: Rambler in Virginia   2012-11-25 14:07  

#2  Lemme know when they come up with an anti-swimmer version.
Posted by: Pappy   2012-11-25 12:50  

#1  Doing the job seals and porpoises PETA won't. So long and thanks for all the fish.
Posted by: Procopius2k   2012-11-25 12:10  

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