Kamikaze robot swarm: US Navy to launch AI-guided unmanned gunboats ‘within a year’ (VIDEO)


The US Navy’s unmanned 11-metre rigid hulled inflatable boat operates autonomously during a demonstration of swarmboat technology.(AFP Photo / John F. Williams )

The US Navy has successfully completed a test mission for autonomous, unmanned boats that can protect a bigger ship, or swarm an enemy target with co-ordinated kamikaze attacks. Using existing NASA technology, these boats will be deployed within months.

“Our sailors and marines can’t fight tomorrow’s battles using yesterday’s technology,” said Rear Adm. Matthew Klunder, chief of the Office of Naval Research (ONR). “This kind of breakthrough is the result of the Navy’s long-term support for innovative research in science and technology.” 

In the August test, the details of which were revealed by the ONR on Sunday, 13 rigid-hulled inflatable boats escorted a larger ship – the Relentless, overseen by a single controller located on the ship itself – down James River in Virginia. 

“It could be the straits of Malacca, it could be the straits of Hormuz,” Klunder said during a media Q&A, when asked about what the mission was simulating. 

In the second part of the exercise, a boat designated as hostile appeared on the far side of the river. Eight smaller craft, which are usually equipped with machine guns, took off in formation and surrounded the target vessel, with the rest staying behind to guard the valuable mother ship.


AFP Photo / John Paul Kotara

Think about it as replicating the functions that a human boat pilot would do. We’ve taken that capability and extended it to multiple units operating together…within that, we’ve designed team behaviors,” said head of the program Robert Brizzarola. The program had been partly inspired by the 2000 incident in which the destroyer USS Cole had its hull blown apart by a single explosives-laden Al-Qaeda boat. 

“It will remove our sailors and marines from many dangerous situations – for instance when they need to approach hostile or suspicious vessels. If an adversary were to fire on the USVs, no humans would be at risk.” 

Read more at RT News

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