The path not taken.
- Oct 9, 2009
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ORIGINAL CAPTION: The inflatable boat operates autonomously during an Office of Naval Research demonstration of swarmboat technology Photo: AP
This initial application appears to be in support of developing the 'Harbor Class' USV; a bit of background on it below from an old post in another thread:
Grey Havoc said:Back in 2007, these were some of the the main robotic systems (not entirely accurately referred to as USVs) that the Navy was planning to use.
The original USN 'USV Master Plan': http://www.navy.mil/navydata/technology/usvmppr.pdfThe Navy wants to develop four main classes of USVs. Three of them would be armed.
The three-meter long "X-Class" machines would be for "low-end" snooping and reconnaissance; like a robotic jet ski, with a camera attached.
The "Harbor Class" would be based on the Navy’s seven meter long rigid-hulled inflatable boats, or RIBs. These unmanned Zodiacs would be used for dropping mine countermeasures, and fending off boat-borne bad guys with a mix of "lethal and non-lethal armament."
The "Snorkeler Class" is a stealthy, seven-meter submersible that would stay in the water for up to a day at a time, tow ing mine- and sub-finding-gear — and maybe even carrying a torpedo or two.
Lastly, there’s the "Fleet Class," capable of staying in the water for 48 hours straight, and reaching speeds of up to 35 knots. The eleven-meter long USV would be used to do everything from carrying commandos to shore, jamming enemy communications, neutralizing mines, and delivering a "Harbor Class" drone. Naturally, it would carry its own guns and torpedoes, too, so it could conduct ‘high end’ surface warfare missions."
The “Harbor Class” is based on the Navy Standard 7m RIB and is focused on the
MS Mission, with a robust ISR capability and a mix of lethal and non-lethal
armament. The “Harbor Class” USV can be supported by the majority of our
Fleet, since it will use the standard 7m interfaces.