Friday, July 25, 2014

Leidos building autonomous unmanned ship to track submarines

National security, health, and engineering company Leidos announced it is building the first robotic unmanned vessel designed to locate and track the extremely quiet diesel submarines of the world's navy fleets.

Leidos said it received the okay to work on the craft from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency in February 2014. The construction of the autonomous ship is part of DARPA's Anti-Submarine Warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel program.

The Virginia-based company said it is building an ACTUV that can autonomously track diesel submarines at extreme depths for months on end.

According to Leidos, the ACTUV's modular design allows it to not only carry out anti-submarine warfare operations, but to be refitted for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions. The ship can also report back on the situation and its condition and has computers programmed to identify other vessels and predict what they will do next, the company said.

The statement reports that the unmanned trimaran is built with carbon composites, using a modular design and a parallel workflow method to speed up assembly. It features navigation and piloting sensors, electro-optics, and long and short-range radar, Leidos said.

The ACTUV is being built at Christensen Shipyard in Vancouver, Washington under the supervision of Leidos and Oregon Iron Works. Leidos says construction is scheduled to take 15 months with the launch on the Columbia River set for 2015.

"ACTUV's advanced sensor technology should allow for continuous surveillance which, combined with the vessel architecture and design, is expected to provide autonomous safe navigation supporting Navy missions around the world," said John Fratamico, the president of Leidos Group.

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