VIDEO: DARPA’s drone submarine hunter takes to sea

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has shared a video of its newly-developed unmanned ocean-going vessel conducting speed and maneuverability trials.

The vessel was developed under the Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV) program and was recently transferred to water at its construction site in Portland, USA.

According to DARPA, the vessel reached a top speed of 27 knots (31 mph/50 kph) at the site.

The 40-meter vessel is scheduled to be christened on April 7, 2016, with open-water testing planned to begin in summer 2016 off the California coast.

DARPA said the vessel was developed at a fraction of the price of regular anti-submarine surface combatants. The fact that it would never have a man onboard will allow the vessel to match and exceed the speeds of submarines as the vessel would have reduced constraints on conventional naval architecture elements such as layout, accessibility, crew support systems, and reserve buoyancy.

According to DARPA, an advance unmanned maritime system autonomy will enable independent deployment of systems capable of missions spanning thousands of kilometers of range and months of endurance under a sparse remote supervisory control model.

This means the ships would be leaving and returning to harbors autonomously. The vessels will also be equipped with an autonomous system management for operational reliability, and autonomous interactions with an intelligent adversary, the research agency said.

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