Unmanned Surface Vehicle threatens to redefine naval warfare

On April 10, 2012 by stratagem

Image: Zyvex

Source: GizMag

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Zyvex is positioning its ultra-modern boats for a new era of naval supremacy, in which huge fleets of colossal ships are not only prohibitively expensive but also undesirable. In a world in which (it claims) the main marine threat is posed by piracy, gun-runners and water-borne terrorism, fast and nimble is what counts. Perhaps for this reason (and maybe for some good PR), Zyvex suggests that the obvious role for an unmanned, long-range USV is as a convoy escort. But it also points out that one of its USVs could be used for stealthy strike attacks, loitering “silently for days or even weeks,” before launching Hellfire missiles or Mark 54 torpedoes. Perhaps less controversial is the potential for such a boat for minesweeping purposes.

Zyvex points out that many missions still require direct human intervention, but the idea is that vehicles derived from the Piranha concept have the speed and range to buy the time required for a manned ship to arrive on the scene. Though one may object to the extension of unmanned, remote-controlled warfare from the battlefields of Afghanistan to the seas off the Horn of Africa, this is precisely what Zyvex hopes to see. “With the Army and Air Force planning to have more than 800 Warrior, Predator, Reaper, and Global Hawk long-range UAVs by 2020, why should the Navy and Coast Guard not have at least as many long-range USVs?”

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