Military Review

US Unmanned Defense Systems

An important advantage of unmanned systems of all classes is a sharp decrease in the load on the human operator. This allows the unmanned vehicle to continue to operate for a long time, which can be useful in various fields. Currently, the United States plans to use such opportunities to develop its anti-submarine defense. Autonomous unmanned vessels and vehicles should patrol and identify underwater targets. Consider the most interesting developments of this kind.

Boat Sea Hunter. US Navy Photos

"Submarine chaser"

The most famous and interesting representative of the UAV class for unmanned aerial vehicles is the Sea Hunter unmanned boat, also known as MDUSW (Medium Displacement Unmanned Surface Vehicle). It was created as a multi-purpose platform that can work without a crew and carry various weapon or equipment. First of all, such a boat is necessary for patrolling water areas.

Sea Hunter has a length of 40 m and a displacement of 145 t. The boat is built according to the trimaran scheme with two outriggers. There are two diesel engines that accelerate the ship to 27 units and provide the operation of generators. Cruising range declared at 10 thousand nautical miles. Autonomy - at least 30 days, depending on the task.

The project uses a modular architecture with the ability to install a variety of equipment. One of its options involves the installation of sonar stations to monitor the underwater environment. With such equipment, MDUSW can search for submarines or sea mines. High autonomy allows the boat to stay in a given area for a long time and wait for the appearance of a submarine. Next, the target data is transmitted to the operator, after which other components of the PLO are involved in the work.

According to open data, the Sea Hunter unmanned boat from 2016 is being tested. The operation of all systems is tested in different conditions. In particular, the prototype made several long journeys across the Pacific Ocean. Probably the target equipment is being tested, but the U.S. Navy and DARPA do not disclose such details.

It is expected that in the future a fleet of MDUSW boats or similar products will be built for the navy. They will be able to work independently and in groups, performing patrols of certain areas, including remote from naval bases. A group of Sea Hunter boats will allow you to monitor the situation and identify various targets without involving surface ships or patrol Aviation. With their help, it is proposed to simplify deployment in the right areas, reduce the cost of such operations, as well as increase the efficiency of the PLO and other components fleet.

The Wave Rider at sea. Photo Liquid Robotics /

All these benefits can only be obtained in the distant future. As far as we know, the only built MDUSW / Sea Hunter is still being tested. The timing of the launch of serial construction and the achievement of initial operational readiness remains unknown.

"The rider on the wave"

In 2016, the US Navy commissioned Liquid Robotics to develop a military version of its Wave Glider drone. This product is a multi-purpose crewless platform for installing various equipment. Previously, scientific and research configurations were proposed, and under the 2016 contract, a military version was developed.

Wave Rider is a composite system of two components connected by a cable for towing, as well as the transfer of energy and data. A flat vessel with solar panels and communication equipment remains on the surface of the water. The second component is a tethered submarine with a set of side planes, carrying the necessary instruments and sensors. The surface element of the complex is only 3 m long, the underwater element is 2,2 m. They are connected by a cable up to 15 m long.

The drone has 7 cargo compartments with a total volume of 93 l for mounting the necessary equipment. Solar panels provide up to 20 watts of power. There is a battery to power systems in the absence of lighting. The autonomy of the device depends on the mission and conditions and can reach 1 of the year.

The Wave Rider product does not have its own propulsion system. The movement is due to the energy of the waves. The wave raises and lowers the surface element of the complex, which pulls the underwater. The underwater controls the position of its horizontal rudders and thereby is held on the desired trajectory. The course control is performed by standard rudders. Without a mover, the device develops speed up to the 1-1,3 node.

US Unmanned Defense Systems
Product Diagram Wave Rider. Figure Liquid Robotics /

The US Navy's Wave Rider variant should carry sonar equipment to search for underwater objects. Such a device will be able to search for mines or submarines of the enemy. The highest autonomy and limited cost will allow the deployment of large flotillas of drones and organize long-term patrols of a given area.

To date, the military version of the Wave Rider has managed to enter the test. Earlier it was reported about the launch of experimental military operation of such equipment at several naval bases. In addition, the apparatus was involved several times in various exercises. In the foreseeable future, full-scale production and deployment is expected.

Imported "Seagull"

In the context of unmanned aerial vehicles, the US Navy and NATO fleets are also interested in foreign developments. So, last year, the Seagull multipurpose unmanned boat from the Israeli company Elbit Systems was attracted to the next exercises. This product successfully worked in conjunction with surface ships of the Navy of several countries.

Seagull is a 12-meter boat with a rigid hull, equipped with all the necessary instruments and capable of carrying a payload of up to 2,5 t. Remote control and autonomous controls are provided. The cruising range of the boat reaches 1900 nautical miles, and satellite communications provide work at any distance from the operator. Fuel autonomy - up to 4 days.

An Israeli boat is capable of carrying equipment for various purposes, up to combat modules with small arms or missile weapons. A few years ago, Elbit Systems introduced a specialized anti-submarine version of the boat. In this version, the ship carries several ASGs with different capabilities, and is also armed with a pair of torpedoes. The PLO boat is able to search for underwater targets, transmit data about them to different consumers, and also independently carry out an attack.

The Seagull boat in anti-submarine configuration performs torpedo fire. Photo Elbit Systems /

The Seagull boat in different versions has already passed the tests. The PLO variant has been demonstrated for several years, and last year even participated in NATO maneuvers. This model receives high marks and can be used by some countries of the North Atlantic Alliance, including USA.

General trends

Submarines of a potential enemy with strategic missiles on board pose a special danger, and it is necessary to combat it by organizing anti-submarine defense. New technologies can simplify the development and deployment of PLO by eliminating the most complex components and optimizing costs.

Unlike surface ships or hunter submarines, crewless systems can be produced in large quantities and within a reasonable time. Due to this, they can be quickly deployed in all dangerous directions in order to timely detect enemy SSBNs. Crewless systems can continue to operate for a long time and are minimally dependent on the person, which contributes to high performance.

The Pentagon understands all this and pays necessary attention to new projects. A number of promising systems based on unmanned platforms are being developed and tested, and some of them are approaching adoption. The question of finding submarines of a likely enemy in the oceans is becoming relevant again - and the US Navy is taking the necessary measures.

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  1. Lexus
    Lexus 11 October 2019 18: 23
    Two parallel universes converged on VO. "Poseidon" and "Fur Seal".
    1. Alien From
      Alien From 11 October 2019 23: 38
      I’ll say more, now all-crawlers and urapatriots will converge here)
  2. rocket757
    rocket757 11 October 2019 18: 57
    Preparing to release the destroyers of something there, without a crew, in the vast expanse of the world ... okay bad idea! In its coastal zones, okay, and so Schaub generally everywhere !!!
    This is too much.
    1. illi
      illi 11 October 2019 19: 35
      Right In their coastal areas you can attach an escort. And in the oceans, an ownerless boat will be handed over for scrap.
      1. CTABEP
        CTABEP 11 October 2019 19: 52
        Quote: illi
        Right In their coastal areas you can attach an escort. And in the oceans, an ownerless boat will be handed over for scrap.

        Do not even hope for it, leather ub *** ki !!!
      2. Avior
        Avior 11 October 2019 21: 08
        especially if there are cameras on it, a decent explosive charge and a large inscription that it’s dangerous to approach it and why .....
        1. Lexus
          Lexus 11 October 2019 21: 20
          Especially if there is an AUG or KUG nearby, and these "ladybugs" will work at a range of confident operation of the ship's radar and aviation.
          1. Avior
            Avior 11 October 2019 21: 25
            especially. and make an inscription about it, that if something happens, a helicopter will fly in and explain that stealing someone else’s is not good .....
        2. illi
          illi 11 October 2019 21: 39
          So you kill all the tourists. This is some sort of terrorism. You never know how many people want to see what kind of laughter ... it’s floating. Curiosity is not a vice.
          1. Avior
            Avior 11 October 2019 22: 12
            Tourist on such an inscription will not climb, especially during hostilities.
            And if you climb, not a tourist.
            Yes, and close the zone for sure. What kind of tourist will they not understand, he is a tourist or a saboteur ....
  3. Ryaruav
    Ryaruav 11 October 2019 20: 31
    this is all amerskoy tuften, yes, the devices will be controlled from a base such as base defense, I agree, it’s real, but don’t talk about the open sea, let's see the accident rate of the UAV we will not find these data at any of our partners if you ever went to sea for the horizon to which it is only 20 miles and a little felt all that 4 points are and this is about 1000 tons of displacement with a full crew on a ship. In general, as a person I have experienced storms in the Barents and North more than once, I’ll say that creating such a multi-functional robot for sea trips s very difficult task
    1. voyaka uh
      voyaka uh 12 October 2019 11: 03
      There are no people on it. From seasickness or bruises, no one
      not hurt. And what special can a storm make a trimaran
      with a sturdy case and floats?
      Devices are placed in sealed shockproof cases.
    2. Cyrus
      Cyrus 12 October 2019 14: 26
      Complex yes, but not impossible, I mean, "game" is already clear - Poseidon and others like him.
  4. dgonni
    dgonni 12 October 2019 09: 49
    Oh how! Two years ago, they laughed from the drones. Right now, other articles even began to understand. If it is simpler then the Americans said that drones in the form of a trimaran will have under 2000 displacement. And there will be plenty in abundance. And seaworthiness and iron both plo and air defense. And they will be able to rivet them all over and the borders will be built according to Wishlist.
    P.S. They have one vulnerability! Communication! In principle, in the presence of a satellite intelligence system, determining the level and position is not a problem. But given the complete seams in space, then everything is sad.