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Unmanned Navy Vessels Can Swarm Enemy

10/5/2014 - ARLINGTON, Va.—As autonomy and unmanned systems grow in importance for naval operations, officials at the Office of Naval Research (ONR) announced today a technological breakthrough that will allow any Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV) to not only protect Navy ships, but also, for the first time, autonomously “swarm” offensively on hostile vessels. The first-of-its-kind technology—successfully demonstrated over two weeks in August on the James River in Virginia—allows unmanned Navy vessels to overwhelm an adversary. Its sensors and software enable swarming capability, giving naval warfighters a decisive edge. “This networking unmanned platforms demonstration was a cost-effective way to integrate many small, cheap, and autonomous capabilities that can significantly improve our warfighting advantage,” said Adm. Jonathan Greenert, chief of naval operations. The technology—called CARACaS (Control Architecture for Robotic Agent Command and Sensing)—is under development by ONR, and can be put into a transportable kit and installed on almost any boat. It allows boats to operate autonomously, without a Sailor physically needing to be at the controls—including operating in sync with other unmanned vessels; choosing their own routes; swarming to interdict enemy vessels; and escorting/protecting naval assets. “Our Sailors and Marines can’t fight tomorrow’s battles using yesterday’s technology,” said Chief of Naval Research Rear Adm. Matthew Klunder. “This kind of breakthrough is the result of the Navy’s long-term support for innovative research in science and technology.” In the demonstrations, as many as 13 Navy boats operated using either autonomous or remote control. First they escorted a high-value Navy ship, and then, when a simulated enemy vessel was detected, the boats sped into action, swarming around the threat. (See CARACaS swarming boat video) In the future, the capability could scale to include even greater numbers of USVs and even to other platforms, including Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). “This multiplies combat power by allowing CARACaS-enabled boats to do some of the dangerous work,” said Dr. Robert Brizzolara, program manager at ONR. “It will remove our Sailors and Marines from many dangerous situations—for instance when they need to approach hostile or suspicious vessels. If an adversary were to fire on the USVs, no humans would be at risk.” The new technology will allow the USVs to detect, deter or destroy attacking adversaries. Any weapons fire from the USVs would need to be initiated by a Sailor supervising the mission. Naval leadership has emphasized a blended force of manned and unmanned systems in recent years. Not only can USVs take on dangerous missions, thus protecting the warfighter, but even multiple USVs are a fraction of the cost of a single large manned ship. The swarm demo announcement comes near the somber anniversary of the terrorist attack on USS Cole (DDG-67) off the coast of Yemen. In that October 2000 attack, a small boat laden with explosives was able to get near a guided-missile destroyer and detonate, killing 17 Sailors and injuring 39 others. Autonomous swarm boat capabilities could play a vital role in protecting people, ports and commerce. “While the attack on Cole was not the only motivation for developing autonomous swarm capability, it certainly is front and center in our minds, and hearts,” said Klunder. “If Cole had been supported by autonomous USVs, they could have stopped that attack long before it got close to our brave men and women on board.” By David Smalley, Office of Naval Research.

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  1. mym1a1
    mym1a1 Oct 13, 2014

    So what do you SAILORS Think?

  2. 33396848
    33396848 Jun 08, 2015

    IT is about time that the U.S. came up with something worth while to help save AMERICAN lives. IT will come in usefull for many different types of OPERATIONS that all NAVY, MARINES, and ARMY CONDUCT, in the future to protect the U.S.A. from any forien attack, and to save lives. Maybe it will help to keep the U.S.A. from being attack by a sneak attack from ISIS. WHO needs to be wiped out to begin with, so that 95% of the terrorist attacks will stop, and to stop brain washing our kids into believing what they say is true. WE need our troops back like we had in the 60's. WE can find some way to afford the roops for the safty of our Nation. Cut the militarie pay from what it is now to 1/3 of what they recieve now and that would almostpay for 2.3rds of the military pay, and subsidize the items like food and in the PX for the men and women like it used to be. THEN reinstitute the draft to make the military strong like it used to be. I believe that this is the only way that we are going to keep AMERICA safe for it's citezens and children. WE have to do something like ww2 and korea and vie nam if we want to become respected again in the world. I hate to see it happen it has to be done.

  3. argospeter
    argospeter Jul 19, 2016

    Just don't talk about it. Keep mum? Short memories you alleeady them you called them MTB BOATS AND THEY SUNK THOUSANDS OF TONS?

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