WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Defense may soon add a new capability to its arsenal — a 130-foot drone warship that is capable of hunting for submarines and underwater mines.
The Anti-Submarine Warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV) is capable of traveling thousands of kilometers over open seas for months at a time without crewmembers. The twin-screw trimaran boat is largely steered by autonomous control systems with remote human supervision.
The DARPA developed prototype vessel, named the Sea Hunter, was christened last week in the Portland, Ore. area. It will now continue in a testing phase through Sept. 2018.
“We’ve just gotten to the point where we can put this in the water and [we] christened it and now for the next two years we’re going to be working really closely with the Navy to figure out what are those first few missions and how do you really make it work,” DARPA Director Arati Prabhakar said at the christening ceremony.
Pending the results of those tests, the vessel could become part of the Navy by 2018, defense officials said.
The vessel was built by Leidos, a defense and engineering company headquartered in Reston, Virginia.