The UK envisions for its own orders a hidden, but submersible, robotic surface ship

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September 15, 2021 14:59 GMT

The purpose of the ship is to support sabotage operations away from bases and supply commandos without risking conventional surface ship crews.

The British Ministry of Defense published a Advance notice of acquisition To rent a unique vessel: an autonomous surface boat capable of submersion.

The ship is designed for special command groups associated with the Navy and is described as an “unmanned and underwater surface vessel”. The ship must be able to carry a wide range of payload types, have a low radar equivalent section, and be extremely robust.

The basic concept contains features already familiar to special operations forces missions. But the focus on unmanned operations distinguishes it from the widely used manned variants, Indicates The US Naval Institute, a non-profit professional organization.

The document addresses several potential missions, but the Naval Institute article highlights above all the sensor deployment and attack capabilities on the surface and underwater.

The system will be part of the so-called Naval Offensive Network. It’s a mix of lethal robotic vehicles, including autonomous surface vehicles and unmanned underwater vehicles, explains institute analyst H.I. Sutton.

Other important features of the robotic ship are its adaptability to surveillance and reconnaissance missions, as well as its small size, as the Navy’s requirements for contractors describe the device as being small enough to fit in a shipping container. 40 feet (12 meters) standard.

This last characteristic may be particularly relevant when working away from bases or “if the environment is too hazardous for refueling by air or sea” that crewed vehicles do.

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This concept also applies to Marine Corps units around the world, the article notes.

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