The US military is constantly adding new remotely controlled and automated weapons and surveillance systems to its arsenal. The USAF has a fleet of drones that can perform surveillance at a location or attack targets when they have weapons onboard. The US Navy is now testing out a remotely controlled platform of its own that will be used to patrol harbors where Navy ships are docked.
The remote controlled platform is called the Blackfish and it is a cut down commercial jet ski that has sensors packed on top. The Blackfish will be able to see underwater and will have sensors to see above water too. The craft is intended to help the Navy detect and defend harbors from attacks like the one that killed 17 Navy personnel aboard the USS Cole in 2000 while it was docked at the Port of Aden in Yemen.
The Blackfish is a 10-foot long craft that can cruise at up to 40mph. The company that builds it is a British defense firm called QinetiQ and the company said the big challenge was getting the craft to go slow enough. Jet skis are very fast and the company had to add bow thrusters that could be used for low speed patrolling. The craft can be remotely controlled by an operator at a distance of up to 1km and can run in automated mode using GPS waypoints. The craft could also be fitted with weapons.
[via Discovery News]