US Navy tests unmanned speedboats that launch nano drones in Arabian Sea

Unmanned speedboats hovered over the Arabian Sea on Wednesday, according to the U.S. Fifth Fleet.

The Man-Portable Tactical Autonomous Systems (MANTAS) T-12 was filmed crossing the waves at speeds of up to 45 knots, or more than 80 kilometers per hour.

“This was the first unmanned / unmanned team activity underway for the new Task Force 59 of the US Fifth Fleet, established on September 9 to accelerate the discovery of unmanned systems,” the US Navy said on Twitter.

The US Navy said in September that the task force would also explore the use of unmanned boats and AI.

At a US Naval Institute conference in June, Bruce Hanson, CEO of MARTAC, a Florida-based company that designed the T-12, said the purpose of unmanned ships was that without a crew they could endure long missions in harsh conditions, including hurricanes, in which the boats had been tested.

“We haven’t really set any limits. We reinforced them, and then we made them run during hurricanes. We were driving these things everywhere, ”Mr. Hanson said.

The remote controlled T-12 is intended to serve as eyes and ears for crewed vehicles.

Barely visible at long distances with such a low profile, the T-12 can be fitted with an array of control and monitoring equipment, including sonar and infrared sensors that provide the operator with a 360-degree view. °.

It can also half submerge itself to be nearly invisible, investigating threats such as landmines or infiltrating enemy forces – for example, terrorists attempting to attack ships in a harbor.

The T-12 can also serve as a small aircraft carrier, capable of launching Black Hornet “nano drones” equipped with infrared cameras for low visibility situations and night operations, which have a flight time of 25 minutes and can be held in the palm of the hand. a hand.

Update: October 20, 2021, 3:25 p.m.

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