- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 7, 2018

The U.S. Navy is testing a versatile new mini-sub called Proteus, which can carry six combat divers into battle or work autonomously with a team of underwater drones to conduct surveillance missions.

Fox News defense specialist Allison Barrie was recently given access to “smart” technology that has impressed officials at at the Naval Special Warfare Center (Panama City Division) Advanced Naval Technology Exercise (ANTX). The vehicle’s A.I. technology allows it to perform numerous functions, including tasks with underwater micro-drones.

“It is quite large for an underwater vehicle and for an underwater drone. You can carry not just one SEAL, not just two SEALs, but six SEAL (or combat divers) in one vehicle,” she said for a “Fox Firepower” segment published Thursday. “In testing it’s been performing extremely well.”

Some of Proteus’ selling points:

  • It’s 25 feet long and five feet wide.
  • The sub can deliver “underwater micro-drones to a target location and launch them.”
  • “It can switch seamlessly from being driven as a vehicle to driving itself and running its own missions.”
  • The sub weighs 8,000 pounds, but can travel at speeds of about 10 knots.
  • It can travel up to 700 nautical miles when connected to special batteries.
  • The submersible can reach depths of 200 feet without a crew or 150 feet with a crew inside.

The vehicle fills with water, which requires combat divers to wear breathing equipment during missions.

Ms. Barrie said that Proteus stood out to her among all the new ways she was shown how SEALs can close in on an objective.

“This one by far is the one I’m most excited about,” she said. “The is a smart underwater vehicle. … In the future it might be able to go for days on end because of the remarkable advances [the U.S. military is] making.”

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

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