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WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF

Many navies around the world are going all in on autonomous boats, ships and platforms, the Sea Hunter will be the first of many such systems that enter service after 2017.

 

Main contractor Leidos has announced that it is starting operational trials of the Sea Hunter, the autonomous sub-hunter it built for DARPA. The Anti-Submarine Warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV) will take to the seas off the coast of San Diego, California in the coming months for tests of the unmanned ship’s sensors, mission control hardware and software, and the autonomy system.

 

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The 132 ft (42-m) autonomous trimaran, which was christened Sea Hunter on April 9, 2016, completed its initial sea trials earlier this year. These trials included executing multi-waypoint missions without human intervention and tests of the Remote Supervisory Control Station (RSCS) which are designed to allow the remote supervision and control of Sea Hunter either from shore or a command vessel, such as the US Navy’s newly launched 600ft fully autonomous-capable, USN Zumwalt. In addition, Sea Hunter acted as the test bed for a towed airborne anti-submarine sensor array called TALONS.

Co-funded by DARPA and the Office of Naval Research (ONR), Sea Hunter is designed to autonomously track – but not yet engage – potentially hostile submarines for months at a time, and while it currently has a small operating crew on board, complete with wheel house, over time those will be phased out as the trials come to a conclusion.

When it’s in service, Sea Hunter will operate autonomously for around 30 to 90 days at a time out at sea and will leave and return to port on its own without the need for any intervention. Additionally it’s designed to operate safely and in accordance with maritime laws and a tenth less to operate than a conventional sub hunter.

 

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Leidos says the sea trials will continue through the third quarter of 2017 as part of a two year test program.

“Sea Hunter is at the forefront of new autonomy technologies for the US military,” says Mike Chagnon, president of the Leidos Advanced Solutions Group, “the operational testing is designed to showcase the unprecedented capabilities that this type of unmanned vessel could offer our military forces.”

About author

Matthew Griffin

Matthew Griffin, described as “The Adviser behind the Advisers” and a “Young Kurzweil,” is the founder and CEO of the World Futures Forum and the 311 Institute, a global Futures and Deep Futures consultancy working between the dates of 2020 to 2070, and is an award winning futurist, and author of “Codex of the Future” series. Regularly featured in the global media, including AP, BBC, CNBC, Discovery, RT, and Viacom, Matthew’s ability to identify, track, and explain the impacts of hundreds of revolutionary emerging technologies on global culture, industry and society, is unparalleled. Recognised for the past six years as one of the world’s foremost futurists, innovation and strategy experts Matthew is an international speaker who helps governments, investors, multi-nationals and regulators around the world envision, build and lead an inclusive, sustainable future. A rare talent Matthew’s recent work includes mentoring Lunar XPrize teams, re-envisioning global education and training with the G20, and helping the world’s largest organisations envision and ideate the future of their products and services, industries, and countries. Matthew's clients include three Prime Ministers and several governments, including the G7, Accenture, Bain & Co, BCG, Credit Suisse, Dell EMC, Dentons, Deloitte, E&Y, GEMS, Huawei, JPMorgan Chase, KPMG, Lego, McKinsey, PWC, Qualcomm, SAP, Samsung, Sopra Steria, T-Mobile, and many more.

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