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US plans crewless automated ghost-frigates
theregister.co.uk ^ | 1/2/2010 | Lewis Page

Posted on 02/03/2010 10:15:38 PM PST by ErnstStavroBlofeld

Those splendid brainboxes at DARPA - the Pentagon's in-house bazaar of the bizarre - have outdone themselves this time. They now plan an entirely uncrewed, automated ghost frigate able to cruise the oceans of the world for months or years on end without human input.

The new project is called Anti-submarine warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV), and is intended to produce "an X-ship founded on the assumption that no person steps aboard at any point in its operating cycle". The uncrewed frigate would have enough range and endurance for "global, months long deployments with no underway human maintenance", being able to cross oceans largely without any human input - communications back to base would be "intermittent", according to DARPA.

In particular, the automated warship would need to avoid crashing into other vessels as it prowled the seas on the business of the US government, a function normally performed by bridge watchkeeping officers. DARPA specifies that the ACTUV must be able to conduct "safe navigation at sea within the framework of maritime law" - that is the International Rules for Prevention of Collisions at Sea, aka "Rule of the Road", which Royal Navy officers have to memorise almost word-perfect.

Then, while weaving in and out of other ships, the crewless frigate must be able to stay on the trail of a well-nigh silent diesel-electric submarine running beneath the waves. Such subs are operated - albeit in small numbers - by various minor powers around the world, and are considered by some in the major navies to be a very serious threat

(Excerpt) Read more at theregister.co.uk ...


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: asw; automated; crewless; darpa; frigate; frigates; militarytechnology; miltech; ship; usmilitary; usnavy; warship

1 posted on 02/03/2010 10:15:39 PM PST by ErnstStavroBlofeld
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To: sonofstrangelove

2 posted on 02/03/2010 10:18:43 PM PST by garjog (Used to be liberals were just people to disagree with. Now they are a threat to our existence.)
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To: sonofstrangelove

UAV: Unmanned Aquatic Vessel. Most likely controlled via HAARP.


3 posted on 02/03/2010 10:19:47 PM PST by DrGunsforHands
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To: sonofstrangelove

No need to sleep. No fear. No families. No pain.

...

No love of country. Terrible idea.


4 posted on 02/03/2010 10:20:05 PM PST by Eyes Unclouded ("The word bipartisan means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out." -George Carlin)
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To: sonofstrangelove

Actually most modern ships with up-to-date navigational systems, do this already.


5 posted on 02/03/2010 10:21:31 PM PST by James C. Bennett
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To: sonofstrangelove

Drone anti-sub ships are strikingly good ideas!


6 posted on 02/03/2010 10:22:12 PM PST by Southack (Media Bias means that Castro won't be punished for Cuban war crimes against Black Angolans in Africa)
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To: DrGunsforHands

They can probably control it either a Naval base or even at the Pentagon via satellite uplink.


7 posted on 02/03/2010 10:23:21 PM PST by ErnstStavroBlofeld ("I have learned to use the word "impossible" with the greatest caution."-Dr.Werner Von Braun)
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To: sonofstrangelove

8 posted on 02/03/2010 10:23:41 PM PST by garjog (Used to be liberals were just people to disagree with. Now they are a threat to our existence.)
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To: sonofstrangelove

Suppose it suddenly disappears, then what?


9 posted on 02/03/2010 10:24:32 PM PST by dr_lew
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To: sonofstrangelove

Current maritime law for unmanned vessels (ghost ships) offers some interesting angles for salvage of an unmanned ship, though!


10 posted on 02/03/2010 10:24:54 PM PST by Southack (Media Bias means that Castro won't be punished for Cuban war crimes against Black Angolans in Africa)
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To: dr_lew

Scramble Naval airplanes to find it.


11 posted on 02/03/2010 10:25:22 PM PST by ErnstStavroBlofeld ("I have learned to use the word "impossible" with the greatest caution."-Dr.Werner Von Braun)
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To: Eyes Unclouded

No bringing back foreign babies from shore leave after the locals enjoy the pleasures of our female sailors.


12 posted on 02/03/2010 10:25:25 PM PST by ansel12 (anti SoCon. Earl Warren's court 1953-1969, libertarian hero, anti social conservative loser.)
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To: sonofstrangelove

13 posted on 02/03/2010 10:26:15 PM PST by Jet Jaguar
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To: sonofstrangelove

I meant to imply that somebody might sink it.


14 posted on 02/03/2010 10:26:46 PM PST by dr_lew
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To: Southack

Self-reloading destroyers would be efficient as well.


15 posted on 02/03/2010 10:27:53 PM PST by max americana
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To: dr_lew

I would think that the ship be able to defend itself.


16 posted on 02/03/2010 10:28:25 PM PST by ErnstStavroBlofeld ("I have learned to use the word "impossible" with the greatest caution."-Dr.Werner Von Braun)
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To: sonofstrangelove

skynet


17 posted on 02/03/2010 10:29:43 PM PST by Mount Athos (A Giant luxury mega-mansion for Gore, a Government Green EcoShack made of poo for you)
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To: Eyes Unclouded

You forgot one....no unlawful orders...


18 posted on 02/03/2010 10:29:47 PM PST by Crim
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To: Mount Athos

Think that we are headed toward automation of both our Air Force amd Navy


19 posted on 02/03/2010 10:31:52 PM PST by ErnstStavroBlofeld ("I have learned to use the word "impossible" with the greatest caution."-Dr.Werner Von Braun)
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To: sonofstrangelove
I would think that the ship be able to defend itself.

That's a whole 'nother kettle of fish, isn't it? If you postulate such a capability, why not a whole goddamn unmanned navy?

20 posted on 02/03/2010 10:32:31 PM PST by dr_lew
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To: dr_lew

I think it we are headed toward automation of certain parts of the armed forces.


21 posted on 02/03/2010 10:34:10 PM PST by ErnstStavroBlofeld ("I have learned to use the word "impossible" with the greatest caution."-Dr.Werner Von Braun)
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To: sonofstrangelove

-.— -— ..- .... .- ...- . - .... . .-. .. —. .... - - -— .-. . — .- .. -. ... .. .-.. . -. - .-.-.- .-.-.-


22 posted on 02/03/2010 10:37:41 PM PST by I see my hands (_8(|)
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To: sonofstrangelove

Just hope the gas pedal doesn’t get stuck.


23 posted on 02/03/2010 10:37:50 PM PST by Bhoy
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To: sonofstrangelove

I like it. I want half a dozen. With lazers that can slice stuff up at 40 miles. Muhuhahahaha.


24 posted on 02/03/2010 10:37:57 PM PST by SaxxonWoods (Gone Galt and loving it)
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To: dr_lew

I think that they should be programmed to protect itself.


25 posted on 02/03/2010 10:38:19 PM PST by ErnstStavroBlofeld ("I have learned to use the word "impossible" with the greatest caution."-Dr.Werner Von Braun)
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To: DrGunsforHands

“Most likely controlled via HAARP.”

No need for controls. It would be entirely autonomous. That’s why it is a DARPA project.


26 posted on 02/03/2010 10:39:26 PM PST by Kirkwood
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To: sonofstrangelove

Well, we’ve got the drones. That’s a revolutionary development, and it’s gone far, but it’s really not automation. It’s remote control, which has it’s own special vulnerabilities, as the Chinese have taken pains to remind us. True robot warriors of any kind are still on the horizon. You’ll note that the article about these drone frigates made no mention of anything beyond collision avoidance.


27 posted on 02/03/2010 10:40:57 PM PST by dr_lew
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To: James C. Bennett
Actually most modern ships with up-to-date navigational systems, do this already.

But there is always a human standing by as back-up.

28 posted on 02/03/2010 10:48:35 PM PST by GATOR NAVY ("The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen." -Dennis Prager)
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To: sonofstrangelove

Would it do anything useful that a manned fleet isn’t doing now? Like sinking pirate ships?


29 posted on 02/03/2010 10:52:33 PM PST by BradyLS (DO NOT FEED THE BEARS!)
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To: GATOR NAVY

There is always something to repair. Especially on a ship. In close quarters and unforseen conditions a human on the helm is indespensible. Won’t work.


30 posted on 02/03/2010 11:27:12 PM PST by screaminsunshine
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To: sonofstrangelove
Actually, it will have a captain... The ship must have a captain...

''Part of the ship, part of the crew'' 

31 posted on 02/03/2010 11:31:44 PM PST by Redcloak (Don't try this at home... I'm a professional!)
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To: Southack

Maybe drone anti sub submarines but surface ships without crew ?

Not sure.....


32 posted on 02/03/2010 11:37:53 PM PST by Squantos (Be polite. Be professional. But have a plan to kill everyone you meet)
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To: sonofstrangelove

If one of these robovessels gets into an accident, wonder how long it will take for the gummit to become aware of it.


33 posted on 02/03/2010 11:45:11 PM PST by HiTech RedNeck (I am in America but not of America (per bible: am in the world but not of it))
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To: sonofstrangelove
The plans go right to China AS they are being developed, and will be hacked 17 minutes into service upon completion.

We are F--ked. Have a nice future.

34 posted on 02/03/2010 11:53:21 PM PST by Captainpaintball (If the right has TEABAGGERS, then the left has SCUMBAGGERS and DOUCHEBAGGERS!!!)
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To: HiTech RedNeck

My concerns are that terrorist board it an leave a package aboard to be brought into an American port......

A UAV or subsurface drone would seem safer for such missions.


35 posted on 02/03/2010 11:55:13 PM PST by Squantos (Be polite. Be professional. But have a plan to kill everyone you meet)
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To: Squantos

Somewhat more secure, but couldn’t something malicious still be affixed to a submarine with a cable or magnet? The vessels need to have the capability to self-survey.


36 posted on 02/03/2010 11:58:13 PM PST by HiTech RedNeck (I am in America but not of America (per bible: am in the world but not of it))
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To: HiTech RedNeck

True. The sub version underway would be less of, not as, that say a surface craft. .

UAV versions of the Orions would seem better idea.


37 posted on 02/04/2010 12:09:54 AM PST by Squantos (Be polite. Be professional. But have a plan to kill everyone you meet)
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To: sonofstrangelove
must be able to conduct "safe navigation at sea within the framework of maritime law"

A warship needs to be also concerned about activities outside of law, maritime or any other.

I would think that the ship be able to defend itself.

We do not have an AI that is even nearly good for telling friend and foe apart. We probably can put together something that shoots at anything in radar range, but that's not likely to fly (or sail, in this case.) It is not far-fetched to imagine that friendly ships will be approaching an automated one, worried that it doesn't respond to human communication.

The second problem is that before the trigger is pulled you legally want to have a human making that decision. Otherwise it is just too easy to sue the country for destruction of ${whatever your fantasy can conceive}. And probably we don't want a robot to start the World War III for us, or a major international incident (like in "Japan is furious that an American robot ship sailed into the middle of a Japanese fishing fleet and sank it all.") There is also something about helping other seafarers in need, and robots aren't good at that.

If this plan goes ahead these ships would be excellent targets for any group, large or small, that wants to sink a US ship and get away with it. Somalia pirates would sell the ship for parts to any interested buyer, and I'm sure first ships will fetch top dollar.

Nuclear submarines can be speedy enough to lose a surface ship in some circumstances, but this isn't feasible for a diesel-electric boat.

So the country sends two subs; they deploy together and get one of those ships assigned. Then they separate. The one that got free continues the mission, and good luck finding it again. The one that got tracked returns to the port or leads the ghost ship on a preplanned wild goose chase, experimenting with methods to shake the tail off. It's not like the sub is in any danger... And if there is only one sub and the mission is important, it takes only one torpedo to get going, and it will be fired easily, knowing that not a single person is being killed. The US Navy will be unhappy, but how do you pin the blame on an unidentified sub? Nobody saw it, and probably even records of its sounds were destroyed along with the ship.

If I were to advise DARPA, I'd simply tell them to invent an autonomous underwater vehicle that can be released from a ship. Once released, it submerges, finds the sub and attaches itself to the hull where it can't be easily found. Then it tracks the sub's movements without transmitting. The surface ship goes away and the sub proceeds with its mission. When the sub's mission is over (or when some other condition triggers it, like proximity to shores of some country) the device detaches itself, floats to the surface and uploads the data to a satellite. DARPA should be happy to chew on some hard challenges in this plan. At least this device would have some utility in it, as opposed to those ships.

38 posted on 02/04/2010 12:52:57 AM PST by Greysard
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To: sonofstrangelove

Ever crewed on a Naval vessel? I have.

Ships have LOTS and LOTS of stuff on them — and stuff breaks. Quite often. Unless you constantly maintain it. EVEN if you constantly maintain it.

This isn’t a relatively simple unmanned drone that goes up and comes down (for maintenance by PEOPLE) in fairly short order.

Not saying it’ll never happen, but I am saying we don’t have the technology right now to make a reliable, robust unmanned vessel of this nature — and we won’t for some time to come.

They’re probably wise to start noodling on it though.


39 posted on 02/04/2010 2:10:28 AM PST by Nervous Tick (Eat more spinach! Make Green Jobs for America!)
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To: Greysard
"...Somalia pirates would sell the ship for parts to any interested buyer..."

I'd like to view—remotely—pirates approaching this vessel!

;-)

40 posted on 02/04/2010 2:20:59 AM PST by Does so (ObamaCare...I pay for medical-marijuana claims by millions of Americans?)
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To: I see my hands

.-.-.- ..-..


41 posted on 02/04/2010 5:43:05 AM PST by Blue Collar Christian (A "tea bagger"? Say it to my face. ><BCC>)
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To: sonofstrangelove

Will it shoot ghost missiles?


42 posted on 02/04/2010 9:35:50 AM PST by NTHockey (Rules of engagement #1: Take no prisoners)
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