Unmanned vessel could soon be working for Navy

Apr 12, 2012, 7:48 PM

AP Business Writer

NEW ORLEANS (AP) – Technology that sent unmanned aircraft over Iraq and Afghanistan soon could be steering unstaffed naval boats for such dangerous tasks as minesweeping, submarine detection, intelligence gathering and approaching hostile vessels.

Defense contractor Textron Inc. demonstrated what it calls its Common Unmanned Surface Vessel technology Thursday at its Textron Marine & Land Systems shipyard in New Orleans.

“The unmanned vessels will keep the dull, dirty and dangerous jobs away from our personnel,” said Ryan Hazlett, director of the advanced systems group of AAI, another Textron subsidiary.

The boat _ painted in Navy gray and with a striking resemblance to a PT boat _ is 39 feet long and can reach a top speed of 28 knots. Using a modified version of the unmanned Shadow surveillance aircraft technology that logged 700,000 hours of duty in the Middle East, the boat can be controlled remotely from 10 to 12 miles away from a command station on land, at sea or in the air, Haslett said.

Farther out, it can be switched to a satellite control system, which Textron said could expand its range to 1,200 miles. The boat could be launched from virtually any large Navy vessel.

It’s not the first unmanned boat. But Haslett said others generally have been boats simply refitted with remote control equipment. The CUSV was designed from the first step not to have a crew.

“It uses space without having to worry about the things that are required for a manned vessel,” he said.

Using diesel fuel, the boat could operate for up to 72 hours without refueling, depending upon its traveling speed and the weight of equipment being carried, said Stanley DeGeus, senior business development director for AAI’s advanced systems. The fuel supply could be extended for up to a week on slow-moving reconnaissance missions, he said.

Accompanied by another small vessel with its control equipment, the boat was shown off to the public with a sweep up and down Bayou Sauvage at full speed. DeGues said the boat could be operated in as little as 5 feet of water because of its shallow draft.

The CUSV would be hard to sink by accident.

Haslett said that if the boat overturns, it shuts down its engines, rights itself, restarts the engines and resumes the mission. DeGeus said that should the boat lose contact with its command, it’s programmed simply to return to its launching point or another pre-determined location.

Additional technology under development would allow the CUSV to “detect a sailboat with a family on it” and pass safely _ without controller intervention, DeGeus said.

The boat had its initial sea trials in 2009 and passed a recent U.S. Navy exercise drill off the coast of Virginia when it approached a potential “enemy vessel” that was near a restricted area and warned it off with an acoustic system featuring DeGues’ voice. This summer, it will travel to Camp Pendleton in San Diego to test its mine detection and sweeping capabilities, DeGeus said.

Textron has produced two CUSV prototypes. DeGues said commercial production could begin within nine to 12 months after the company receives a contract. Hazlett wouldn’t reveal how much development cost, but said it has all been funded by Textron. He also wouldn’t speculate on the eventual cost of each vessel, saying that would depend upon equipment ordered by a customer and the number of boats built. Textron is pursuing contracts to supply the U.S. Navy, as well as foreign navies.

If the company gets contracts for the CUSV, construction will take place in New Orleans.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Technology

FILE - Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Christopher Wray testifies during a Senate A...
Associated Press

US, UK leaders raise fresh alarms about Chinese espionage

LONDON (AP) — The head of the FBI and the leader of Britain’s domestic intelligence agency raised alarms Wednesday about the Chinese government, warning business leaders that Beijing is determined to steal their technology for competitive gain. FBI Director Christopher Wray reaffirmed previous concerns in denouncing economic espionage and hacking operations by China as well […]
10 hours ago
FILE - The Activision Blizzard Booth is shown on June 13, 2013, during the Electronic Entertainment...
Associated Press

Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard bid faces UK antitrust probe

LONDON (AP) — Microsoft’s acquisition of game publisher Activision Blizzard faces antitrust scrutiny in the U.K., where competition regulators said Wednesday they’ve opened an initial inquiry into the $69 billion deal. The Competition and Markets Authority said it has started looking into whether the tie-up would result “in a substantial lessening of competition” in the […]
10 hours ago
This photo provided by Volkswagen shows the 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan, a compact SUV with an option fo...
Associated Press

Edmunds: 2022 Kia Sorento vs. Volkswagen Tiguan

Most compact SUVs seat five people. But there are a few that also come with a third-row seat to boost capacity up to seven passengers. While that third row is pretty small, it does give you an easier-to-park and less expensive alternative to a three-row midsize SUV. If this is an appealing option for you, […]
10 hours ago
Associated Press

Economists: Current measures won’t meet German energy goals

BERLIN (AP) — Germany won’t achieve its targets for phasing out fossil fuels and ramping up renewable energy by 2030 with the measures currently in place, according to a think tank report released Wednesday. The respected German Institute for Economic Research, or DIW, examined the goals that Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government set itself since coming […]
10 hours ago
A drone flies at one of the Federal Aviation Administration's designated drone testing sites run by...
Associated Press

The next frontier for drones: Letting them fly out of sight

REMINGTON, Va. (AP) — For years, there’s been a cardinal rule for flying civilian drones: Keep them within your line of sight. Not just because it’s a good idea — it’s also the law. But some drones have recently gotten permission to soar out of their pilots’ sight. They can now inspect high-voltage power lines […]
10 hours ago
Maryna Viazovska, right, receives the Fields prize from IMU President Carlos E. Kenig, during the I...
Associated Press

Ukrainian mathematician awarded prestigious Fields Medal

BERLIN (AP) — Ukrainian mathematician Maryna Viazovska was named Tuesday as one of four recipients of the prestigious Fields Medal, which is often described as the Nobel Prize in mathematics. The International Mathematical Union said Viazovska, who holds the chair in number theory at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne, was being honored for […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
CANVAS ANNUITY

Best retirement savings rates hit 4.30%

Maximize your retirement savings with guaranteed fixed rates up to 4.30%. Did you know there is a financial product that can give you great interest rates as you build your retirement savings and provide you with a paycheck for life once you retire? It might sound too good to be true but it is not; this product is called an annuity.
...
Christina O’Haver

BE FAST to spot a stroke

Every 40 seconds—that’s how often someone has a stroke in the United States. It’s the fifth leading cause of death among Americans, with someone dying of a stroke every 3.5 minutes.
...
Arizona Division of Problem Gambling

Arizona Division of Problem Gambling provides exclusion solution for young sports bettors

Sports betting in Arizona opened a new world to young adults, one where putting down money on games was as easy as sending a text message.
Unmanned vessel could soon be working for Navy