As the US Navy continues to understand how unmanned drones will play on the future of the fleet, Central Command of the United States Naval Forces began operational testing of a sailboat-style drone on Sunday.
The stuffy sensor Drone explorer being tested in the Gulf of Aqaba off Jordan could provide the Navy with a relatively inexpensive way to extend its line of sight, according to a Navy statement announcing the tests.
The drone is 23 feet long and 16 feet high and relies on wind power to move around.
It also houses a set of sensors powered by the sun, according to NAVCENT.
The ship was built by the Californian company Saildrone business.
Other company-made surface drones have been on year-long data collection missions, and one made a 34-day “hand-less” trip from San Francisco to Hawaii in 2013. , according to the company.
The Navy hopes the machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities of the Saildrone could provide the fleet with an affordable, zero-carbon tool to see on the horizon.
The US Coast Guard began testing Saildrone ships in the fall of 2020 off the coast of Hawaii.
According to the company Saildrone, such vehicles are built for long missions at sea and are fitted with cameras, automated identification receivers, and radar or infrared cameras for nighttime capabilities.
The on-board software recognizes targets of interest and can report these targets to end users.
Geoff is a senior Navy reporter for the Military Times. He has covered Iraq and Afghanistan extensively and was recently a reporter for the Chicago Tribune. He welcomes all kinds of advice at email@example.com.