FOD Saying of the Day
A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on – Winston Churchill
Sea Hunter Transferred to US Navy
The Sea Hunter is an autonomous unmanned surface vehicle (USV) launched in 2016 as part of the DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) Anti-Submarine Warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV) program. It was christened 7 April 2016 in Portland, Oregon. It was built by Vigor Industrial. (Vigor also builds all the ferries for the Washington State Ferry System). The vessel continues the line of experimental “Sea” ships, including the Sea Shadow, Sea Fighter, and Sea Slice. The Sea Hunter is classified as a Class III USV and designated the Medium Displacement Unmanned Surface Vehicle (MDUSV). It is an unmanned self-piloting craft with twin screws, powered by two diesel engines with a top speed of 27 knots. Its weight is 135 tons, including 40 tons of fuel, adequate for a 70-day cruise. Cruising range is “transoceanic,” 10,000 nautical miles at 12 knots fully fueled with 14,000 gallons of diesel, enough to “go from San Diego to Guam and back to Pearl Harbor on a tank of gas.” Sea Hunter has a full load displacement of 145 tons and is intended to be operational through Sea State 5, waves up to 6.5 ft high and winds up to 21 knots and survivable through Sea State 7, seas up to 20 ft high. The trimaran hull provides increased stability without requiring a weighted keel, giving it a higher capacity for linear trajectories and better operations in shallow waters, though the greater width decreases maneuverability. It is expected to undergo two years of testing before being placed in service with the U.S. Navy. If tests are successful, future such craft may be armed and used for anti-submarine and counter-mine duties, operating at a small fraction of the cost of operating a destroyer, $15,000-$20,000 per day compared to $700,000 per day; it could operate with Littoral Combat Ships, becoming an extension of the LCS ASW module. Deputy US Defense Secretary Robert Work said that if weapons are added to the ship, a human would always remotely make the decision to use lethal force. Following successful initial development, it was reported on 1 February 2018 that DARPA had handed development of Sea Hunter to the Office of Naval Research. On 22 June 2016, Sea Hunter completed initial performance trials, meeting or surpassing all performance objectives for speed, maneuverability, stability, seakeeping, acceleration/deceleration, fuel consumption, and mechanical systems reliability in the open-ocean. Upcoming trials will include testing of sensors, the vessel’s autonomy suite, compliance with maritime collision regulations, and proof-of-concept demonstrations for a variety of U.S. Navy missions. The Sea Hunter MDUSV was adopted by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) in summer 2017 for operational testing and evaluation for mine-countermeasure, EO/IR, and submarine detection capabilities. Plans for FY 2018 include adding intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and offensive anti-submarine payloads.