Jacob September 18, 2015 3:26 PM

“The vessel is controlled at an ops room in Singapore via Inmarsat and V-Sat satellite communications. “With the Internet, we can control the boat from anywhere around the world with the right program and the right access,” Soon says.”

Just saying…

Gerard van Vooren September 18, 2015 4:04 PM


Wow, that’s a nice FWA [1]. Like STOL. Only one word less than STOVL however it’s more than UFO, LSD, TLA or STD. Still it doesn’t beat SNAFU. It kinda reminds me of the LARO [3].

[1] 4 Word Abbr [2]
[2] Recursion
[3] That’s an improved JEEP [4]
[4] Just Enough Essential Parts

r September 18, 2015 5:48 PM

@Gerard, i thought JEEP was rooted in GP – General Purpose?

huh, wiki says GP is a tractor…

except wiki also says on the JEEP page in history
‘1941 Ford GP’
‘1942–1945 Ford GPW’
‘1942–1943 Ford GPA’

i was always under the impression of JEEP being a bastardized? pronunciation of GP originating with the US military.

BUT, i do like the acronym you present. 🙂

Thoth September 19, 2015 1:27 AM

Load that boat up with 25mm Bushmasters and 7.62mm coaxial and it can do merchant ship escort. A huge problem is accountability and liability if rounds get fired because it seems the vessels are to be loaned although I do imagine options to buy, own and customise is possible.

DennyDemuynck September 19, 2015 4:20 AM

See that huge antenna sitting on a massive black pole sticking out of the IUSV? If you can afford powerful jammers, switch yours on. If you’re a Somali pirate with a $100 budget, aim at the white bit… Done.

Contrarian September 19, 2015 11:39 AM


I can see a market for these vessels in Colombia.

No way. Far too conspicuous.

For discreet “special” deliveries, submarines are already used.

Being aboard of these things must be horrible.

The two-men crews of the crude WW2 German “Seehund” subs were kept going with very liberal doses of Pervitin [amphetamine], even more than in other services. Their missions lasted several days, and the probability of making it back alive was by no means close to one.

I would expect similar conditions to prevail on the South-American ships.

The wiki article also describes a towed container, but I wouldn’t be surprised that active unmanned torpedoes are being actively considered. No volume needs to be wasted for accommodating human beings. Going slow improves endurance and resistance to detection.

The two essential problems are propulsion and navigation.

How available are good inertial platforms to civilian buyers? If you don’t have access to exotic air independent propulsion technologies, you would need to have a snorkel, which you’d equip with GPS.

The snorkel would limit the dive depth, but you could compensate for the worsened stealthiness to a point with detectors for S and X band marine radar, and an AIS receiver, allowing the sub to keep clear of any activity in the neighborhood. You could also navigate in the wake of a noisier ship to get through any fixed sonar networks. A few engineers who were laid-off from some defense contractor would be enough to pull this, but tinkerers would probably be more resourceful.

You could land the unmanned vehicle anywhere on the CONUS continental shelves, and retrieve them later when the coast is clear. Maybe it’s done already. It looks a lot less risky than sending human mules with a few hundred grams of poison stashed in their bowels through extremely controlled points.

Is the shit that is smuggled in really nastier than the shit that is peddled by big pharma? Preparations such as Oxycontin, Ritalin, Zyprexa and many others bring in tens of billions, much of it paid by the public purse, to their manufacturers.

Big pharma settles its little differences with patents and court proceedings, which is a bit more civilized than drive-by shootings, and doesn’t require the wide population surveillance and control apparatus of the so-called “war on drugs” and “war on terrorism”.

herman September 19, 2015 11:59 AM

The drug problem is really big pharma against little pharma, with the taxpayers footing the bill for the protection racket.

albert September 19, 2015 3:13 PM

Could someone explain to me how an unarmed drone boat is going to ‘escort’ freighters passing pirate without getting shot up?
For the price one of those drones, you could outfit all freighters on that route with RPGs and 50-cals. Added benefit: reduction in the number of pirates and decrease in incentive.
. .. . .. oh

Wael September 19, 2015 3:51 PM


Could someone explain to me how an unarmed drone […] without getting shot up? For the price one of those drones, you could outfit all freighters on that route with RPGs and 50-cals

It’s an application of a security principle of separation of duties. The freight ship’s task is to transport cargo, and is manned by commercial crew. It would complicate matters (customs, insurance, laws, using the ship for other purposes, etc…) if the freight ship is equipped with heavy arms. Then it’ll need to be manned by some military crew to operate the guns, radars, etc…

The unmanned boat can take the task of defense, and if it gets shot, then human collateral causality would be minimized.

We are heading towards the future of unmanned, machine driven equipment. These maybe remotely operated, in a few years, they’ll make their own decisions like some movies show. It’s a matter of time.

tyr September 19, 2015 5:04 PM

@Wael, albert

Getting a ship armed to fend off pirates isn’t a problem.
The problem arises when you have to enter a port to offload
your cargo. Few governments are thrilled about the idea of
shipping which is armed no matter what the excuse. We (USN)
had to subdue a young lad who was going to explain his
grievance to a San Diego bar with a 5 inch naval rifle.
He was caught just in time or the civilians would have
been horrified. Spraying a city with a 50 Caliber would
have the same effects on public opinion. Shipowners may
not be thrilled about piracy but they don’t need more
headaches from random government busybodies.

A robot pirate ship that cruises with merchants and never
comes into port might be a handy thing to have if your
cargo is really valuable. It wuld be a lot cheaper to
buy a surplus PT type and hire a couple of rougher lads
and do the same thing for a lot less money. Drop off
outside territorial waters and pick up later. Rigged
right it could fight while in the boat davits. : ^ )

Wael September 19, 2015 10:31 PM


Getting a ship armed to fend off…

We, more or less, are saying the same thing, oh Norse god of war!

albert September 20, 2015 12:01 PM

Yes, arming freighter crews is an extreme solution, and, yes, I understand the legal and economic problems.

Speaking of which, a while back I watch a TV doc on the US Navy pirate patrols in that area. Basically, their hands are tied. By the time they get a helicopter to the scene, and then a patrol boat to search the suspected craft, the pirates have dumped their weapons. If they do manage to find weapons, all they can do is turn the suspected perps over to the Somali ‘government’. (this is what happens when US Navy ships get attacked:

If armed drone ships were used (designated as military), piracy could be reduced, but you’d need a lot of them. And you’d face the same challenges we face right now with drone aircraft: ‘kill, no-kill’ decisions.

The 408.23 kg gorilla in the room is the Somali govt. If ever a country needed regime change, this is the one. Quick, call the CIA!

Handguns could stop most boarding parties.

What about non-lethal weapons? They are legal, cheap, and easy to deploy.

Drone boats could very easily be taken out with rifles, or stopped by ECM, or blown up by RC boats laden with explosives.

A very expensive ‘solution’ with little chance of success.

I don’t see the benefits. Don’t think for a moment that the shipping companies want to bear any of the financial burdens, either. They already account for piracy in their insurance calculations.

. .. . .. oh

albert September 22, 2015 12:02 PM

@vas pup,
No, I didn’t read it. I don’t bother with sites that need lots of scripts, and don’t render correctly anyway.
Anyway, I won’t be happy* until drones are licenced to scientists and LE only, transmit unique IDs, and require clear ID markings…. Outright banning is OK with me. Regulation is coming. They’re waiting for the first big accident (preferably with fatalities). Then the hammer will drop.
* OK, a little less unhappy:)

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