Friday, December 21, 2012

SAIC Reveals New Details on ASW Drone

Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) has released an updated promotional video on the Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV), a DARPA Tactical Technology Office project to develop an autonomous surface vehicle. ACTUV is specifically designed to conduct long duration autonomous tracking missions against diesel submarines.
The video reveals some interesting new details on the awkwardly-acronymed vessel. The computer-generated vignette shows ACTUV working in conjunction with other platforms to track and prosecute submarines using onboard sensors. These include a mid-frequency active/passive sonar mounted in a pod under the vessel's keel, two high frequency active sonars for localization, and a total-field magnetometer array along the ACTUV's hull for close-in tracking. A very high frequency sonar will then use acoustic imaging to classify the sub. Also interesting are the other possible missions ACTUV could conduct which include:
  • Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconaissance
  • Acting as a Surveillance Towed Array Sensor System (SURTASS) surrogate, a mission currently conducted by manned platforms.
  • SOF Over-watch and support
  • Acting as a mothership for UUVs and AUVs
  • Communications relay for networked undersea sensors
  • Littoral logistics and resupply
If successful, ACTUV will be a critical demonstration of the value of unmanned surface vessels for long duration missions.

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