- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A Pentagon anti-submarine project passed a critical six-week round of tests needed to provide proof-of-concept earlier this year.

Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which has been tasked with providing the nation with breakthrough technology, put its Anti-submarine Warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel through rigorous testing on the Mississippi River earlier this year. The 132-foot autonomous tracking ship passed its tests and is one step closer to deployment.

“Instead of chasing down these submarines and trying to keep track of them with expensive nuclear powered-submarines, which is the way we do it now, we want to try and build this at significantly reduced cost,” DARPA program manager Ellison Urban said while speaking at an industry event in Virginia, Defense One reported Tuesday. “It will be able to transit by itself across thousands of kilometers of ocean and it can deploy for months at a time. It can go out, find a diesel-electric submarine and just ping on it.”

The vessel was put through 100 different training scenarios along a 35-nautical mile stretch of the Mississippi. The engineering company Leidos was able to have its vessel track another ship “without crashing into rocks, shoals, or erratically behaving surface vessels,” Defense One reported.

Construction of a prototype for the vessel, the Sea Hunter, is expected to launch this fall, the website reported.

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