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Unmanned Surface Vehicle ‘Kits’

The United States military is perpetually improving itself, always looking for the next innovation to retain an advantage over the rest of industrialized nations. The Pentagon often spearheads these initiatives, lending support to various programs of ‘tomorrow’ that are bound to shape our future. One particularly exciting program is the creation of Unmanned Surface Vehicle “kits.” They are intended to deliver combat supplies, fire weapons, swarm enemies, refuel ships, and search for enemy mines and submarines in addition to dispersing attack forces so as to minimize risk from enemy fire.

These kits house tremendous potential for saving the lives of sailors and marines by minimizing their exposure to the enemy. With such positive implications, the highly encouraged program is the brainchild of a Science & Technology effort led by the Pentagon’s Strategic Capabilities Office. Yet, although the life-saving benefits of this technology are certainly phenomenal, there is something else equally notable.

It could dramatically shift the course of amphibious drone assaults. Different kits are being developed in accordance with the ships. This allows these remote-controlled shifts to execute a wide variety of tasks that are currently the exclusive responsibility of manned ships. Not to mention, these kits can be easily installed and removed, which means said drone ships can be operated manually as well.

For instance, if the Navy needs expeditionary logistics for a ship that is standing from the shore, they can just send an unmanned supply boat, as opposed to wasting the time of an entire crew as they sail over. Just as well, computer processing rates are increasing exponentially, thus trimming overall efficiency significantly and reducing human intervention substantially.

According to Dr. William Roper, Director of the SCO, this “autonomy kits” will need another two years before they are fully transitioned to the Navy. That said, the Navy is still involved in current testing. The Strategic Capabilities Office (formerly a secret department) is a “special DoD-level effort to integrate harness, leverage and integrate near-term emerging technology for faster delivery to combatant commanders at war.” Much of this essentially means the department is able to cut through a lot of bureaucratic red-tape, whereas other departments may not be so lucky.

It is very exciting to see the prospective and current technology our defense department is able to create and maintain. Hopefully, this is just the beginning.