Maritime nuisance: unmanned surface vessels designed to harass enemy submarines
Posted by John Keller
Imagine an oceangoing unmanned surface vessel designed to detect, track, and even harass potentially hostile quiet diesel-electric submarines virtually unsupported, anywhere in the world. That's the idea behind the Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV) program of the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which has awarded a first-phase design contract to the QinetiQ North America Technology Solutions Group in Waltham, Mass.
The project is interesting enough on its own: an unmanned boat or small ship that searches sensitive areas of the world's oceans for today's extremely quiet diesel-electric submarines, which are virtually impossible to detect -- even with today's most sensitive sonar gear.
For more, see Unmanned surface vessel able to track quiet enemy submarines is objective of DARPA ACTUV contract to QinetiQ .
Still, what caught my eye about this project is the complete lack of covert means to detect and track submarines. In fact, one of the stated goals of the program is the "overt" tracking of enemy submarines.
This project is about using unmanned surface vessels to track submarines in the open -- on the surface and making propulsion noises. In other words, Designers of this ASW system want the enemy to know the system is there, and on his tail.
It's pretty hard to hide when there's noisy nuisance following you. Perhaps the first of these unmanned surface vessels could be named the USS Chihuahua.