The U.S. Department of Defense has released the first footage of its prototype unmanned anti-submarine ship being developed to track quiet diesel-electric submarines over long distances.
The new vessel was launched in January at Vigor’s shipyard in Portland, Oregon, where it has quietly been under construction for the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
During a speed tests in February, the vessel reached a top speed of 27 knots.
The vessel is part of a DARPA program is to design, develop and construct an entirely new class of ocean-going vessel intended to chase submarines across thousands of miles of ocean for months at a time without a single crew member aboard.
Until now DARPA has only released some basic illustrations of the vessel, depicting a sleek wave-piercing trimaran reminiscent of Sea Shepherd’s late-powerboat Ady Gil, a vessel that was originally created circumnavigate the globe.
DARPA says the vessel is scheduled to be christened on April 7, 2016, with open-water testing planned to begin in summer 2016 off the California coast.