- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The U.S. Navy’s Pacific Command’s recent announcement that it has successfully completed tests on its GhostSwimmer unmanned underwater vehicle prompted an immediate rebuttal from Russia: They, too, are close to unmanned submarine drones.

The U.S. Navy first trumpeted its successful test on Friday.

“GhostSwimmer will allow the Navy to have success during more types of missions while keeping divers and sailors safe,” Michael Rufo, director of Boston Engineering’s Advanced Systems Group, said in Pacific Command’s statment.

Three days later, state-funded media outlet Russia Today heralded a story about how underwater drones would be incorporated into Russia’s fifth-generation subs, which are in development.

“We’re talking about battle robots which can be released by the submarine, and a type of underwater drone,” Russian engineer Nikolay Novoselov was quoted in Russia Today.

The Russians revealed few details about its underwater drones in development, but the U.S. Navy said its 5-foot, 100-pound drone essentially mimics aquatic life.

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“It swims just like a fish does by oscillating its tail fin back and forth. The unit is a combination of unmanned systems engineering and unique propulsion and control capabilities,” Mr. Rufo added, the Navy reported.

Capt. Jim Loper, concepts and innovation department head at the Navy Warfare Development Command, told Military.com about the project in July, saying, “We’re imaging this can loiter for days, possibly weeks on a battery that allows it to maintain its position. This is a sensor we can put out there that matches in with the local life so to speak.”

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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