The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has christened a new drone boat, and the 130-foot, fully autonomous ship will primarily be used for one thing: hunting down submarines.
The boat, which is seen being launched and speed tested in the above video, is named ACTUV, an acronym within an acronym that stands for Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel. And while that name may sound more clunky than intimidating, rest assured that this thing will track down a submarine like frakking Leo DiCaprio in The Revenant on the hunt for his son’s killer (or an Oscar).
The boat is, of course, completely without crew, but can still travel thousands of kilometers across the open ocean for months at a time. In terms of submarine-hunting gear, it’s armed with long and short-range sonar systems that have been specifically designed to hone in on the stealthiest of diesel-electric submarines. The ACTUV can also reach speeds of up to 31 mph (27 knots), which means its prey won’t have much luck even if it decides to run instead of hide. These factors combined make this thing, according to DARPA, “an entirely new class of ocean-going vessel.”
Without a crew, ACTUV obviously provides a much safer alternative to manned vessels for reconnaissance missions, although it’s unclear if there will be any kind of Hunt for Red October situation involving a rogue drone boat if something goes wrong with its autonomous systems. And there’s no way that could happen right?!
What do you think about DARPA’s autonomous drone boat? Is this the safest way to conduct military reconnaissance, or surefire way to cause on accident on the high seas? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!