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MM Blog: An Autonomous Naval Warship

A look at a new unmanned warship designed to hunt down submarines.

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The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (or DARPA) first announced that it was in the process of creating an autonomous robot ship in 2010. Now, years later, the “Anti-Submarine Warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vehicle” (as it’s called) is ready for action.

The ship’s primary objective is to track down enemy submarines in shallow water, but ideally it could supply other naval ships or even run logistics operations. ACTUV is also designed to function autonomously for 60 to 90 straight days, thus eliminating the need for dozens of crew members.

And although ACTUV is technically a warship, it’s smaller at 132 feet long and just 140 tons. According to DARPA, the ACTUV’s size is also “optimized to robustly track quiet diesel electric submarines.” Another advantage is that the ACTUV is cheap to operate with the cost of just one day tallying between $15,000 to $20,000. The ACTUV will continue sea trials for the next 18 months following its maiden voyage in April.


Could unmanned submarines be the future of naval warfare? Do you think that this could lead to other autonomous service vehicles?

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