It has been a wee bit more than three years since we talked about how DARPA has a robotic ship that will hunt down silent submarines, and it seems that such a dream is now a reality as DARPA prepares to roll out its latest 132-foot submarine-hunting drone some time later this April. It has been a long time in coming, really, but all’s well that ends well, don’t you think so? This rather unique drone will be known as the Anti-Submarine Warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel, and in order to prevent our tongues from getting all tied up, it will be called the ACTUV in short, as it prepares to embark on its maiden mission this coming April 7th (at least it is not six days earlier which will certainly raise some eyebrows) – with the main task of tracking down stealth submarines autonomously.
It is no petite drone, however, as it tips the scales at a whopping 140 tons, but despite that, the ACTUV is deemed to be one of the quietest ships around, and has the ability to handle life at sea for months on end without the need for a single soul on board.
ACTUV also has less “glamorous” tasks of bringing along supplies to other ships at sea when it is not tasked with hunting down enemy submarines, but the question raised would be this – won’t pirates find the ACTUV to be easy pickings without a human crew on board, while carrying some precious cargo? What then, too, will happen to the DASH program?