Sea Hunter achieves new milestone for autonomy
The US Office of Naval Research's (ONR's) Medium Displacement Unmanned Surface Vessel (MDUSV), Sea Hunter, has successfully autonomously navigated from San Diego to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and back, Leidos announced on 31 January.
Sea Hunter navigated without crew onboard, except for very short duration boardings by personnel from an escort vessel to check electrical and propulsion systems.
The milestone is part of an extended test phase, which has been ongoing since the end of 2016. The USV will continue long duration and mission package testing throughout 2019.
The 132ft long trimaran is capable of travelling for long periods of time and can execute a variety of missions.
Gerry Fasano, president, Leidos Defense Group, said: ‘The Sea Hunter programme is leading the world in unmanned, fully autonomous naval ship design and production. The recent long-range mission is the first of its kind and demonstrates to the US Navy that autonomy technology is ready to move from the developmental and experimental stages to advanced mission testing.’
Leidos is currently constructing Sea Hunter II under a potential $43.5 million contract from ONR.The vessel will be evolved based upon lessons learned during the first Sea Hunter build, evolving mission requirements and further development of autonomy enhancements.
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