The world’s largest self-driving warship is under Pentagon’s wing. If you haven’t heard about it yet, Sea Hunter is a drone warship created to detect diesel submarines, some of the stealthiest ones. Last month, the unmanned ship completed its test trials with flying colors and left many wondering whether it was going to roam the sea sooner than thought #actionmagic
DARPA’s latest sea baby completed its first trials off the coast of San Diego, California. According to head engineer, Leidos, it behaved as expected in terms of “speed, maneuverability, stability, seakeeping, acceleration/deceleration, and fuel consumption”. The Sea Hunter is 132ft-long, can travel at up to 27 knots per hour, has an advanced optical system to detect other ships and most importantly, can stay at sea months at a time with no crew on board.
During tests, a pilot supervised the operation on deck but future ones will evaluate the ships ability to react on its own when confronted with sea traffic. Moreover, DARPA plans to test carefully the array of sensors, its compliance with maritime regulations and work on proof-of-concept demonstrations for various U.S Navy missions. This doesn’t come as a surprise, since engineers are confident Sea Hunter can do mine sweeps too, not just submarine detection. The so-far unarmed drone also shows potential to revolutionize commercial shipping in the near future.