The U.S. Navy is developing a submarine-hunting drone ship that will target the next generation of nearly silent enemy diesel submarines, Business Insider reported Tuesday.
This comes in light of a Russian initiative to develop the "world’s quietest submarine."
The DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) project was launched on the premise of accomplishing three goals: to beat the speed of diesel submarines at less cost than existing systems, to safely navigate the oceans in accordance with maritime law, and to track diesel submarines accurately, regardless of their location
Tested off the coast of Mississippi, the ACTUV (Anti-Submarine Warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel) was able to autonomously avoid randomly moving vessels while navigating natural obstacles, according to Business Insider.
The testing will continue with having the drone trail a submarine while other vessels attempt to block it, the report said.
In developing the ACTUV, the Navy will be better able to track enemy diesel submarine proliferation. The use of drones as opposed to manned ships allows the Navy to save resources and manpower.
"Instead of chasing down these submarines and trying to keep track of them with expensive nuclear powered submarines, which is the way we do it now, we want to try and build this at significantly reduced cost," Ellison Urban, DARPA program manager said at the National Defense Associate, said. "It will be able to transit by itself across thousands of kilometers of ocean and it can deploy for months at a time."