With all the talk about airborne drones like the Predator, it’s easy to forget that drones can be in the water as well. Meet the Common Unmanned Surface Vessel (CUSV):
The boat — painted in Navy gray and with a striking resemblance to a PT boat — is 39 feet long and can reach a top speed of 28 knots. Using a modified version of the unmanned Shadow surveillance aircraft technology that logged 700,000 hours of duty in the Middle East, the boat can be controlled remotely from 10 to 12 miles away from a command station on land, at sea or in the air, Haslett said.
Farther out, it can be switched to a satellite control system, which Textron said could expand its range to 1,200 miles. The boat could be launched from virtually any large Navy vessel.
Using diesel fuel, the boat could operate for up to 72 hours without refueling, depending upon its traveling speed and the weight of equipment being carried, said Stanley DeGeus, senior business development director for AAI’s advanced systems. The fuel supply could be extended for up to a week on slow-moving reconnaissance missions, he said.