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The promising US surface robot “Sea Hunter”, developed specifically for the detection and pursuit of submarines, made its first fully autonomous trip late last month from the port of San Diego in California to Pearl Harbor in Hawaii and then returned.
According to the statement published by the company Leidos, which develops the ship, the humans did not intervene and only climbed aboard the vehicle to verify the operation of the systems.
A hunter robot
The development of the robot “Sea Hunter” has been carried out within the framework of the ACTUV project since 2010 jointly by the Advanced Defense Development Agency and the Research Department of the United States Navy. The first test of the new robot occurred in 2016.
The device is built according to the “trimaran” scheme with two floats placed on each side. The designers have chosen this scheme to ensure greater stability. The length of the device, capable of accelerating up to 27 knots, is about 40 meters. The robot is equipped with various navigation and sound equipment.
The main task of the ACTUV will be the detection and search of “silent” diesel-electric submarines. In addition, the robot will be used to transport food and search for marine mines. Initially, the project was controlled by the Advanced Defense Development Agency of the Pentagon (DARPA), which in February of last year transferred it to the United States Naval Research and Development Office.
The route through which the American robot passed during the test and the distance traveled has not been published, but the distance in a straight line from San Diego to Pearl Harbor is just over 4.2 thousand kilometers. During the tests, the robot maneuvered, and experts verified the work of their search engines on board, so that the distance covered by the “Sea Hunter” could be much more than 8.4 thousand kilometers.
In late January of this year, Rear Admiral Ronald Boxall, head of the N96 division of the Naval Operations Administration of the US Navy, said that the United States Navy would change its structure in the future, adding four classes different from robots. This approach will allow to implement the concept of distributed maritime operations to counteract the maritime expansion of Russia and China. The concept contemplates the constant presence of American ships in different parts of the world ocean.