ARLINGTON, Va., April 8 (UPI) -- An unmanned anti-submarine warfare vessel has been christened by the head of the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
The prototype demonstrator, Sea Hunter, is a new class of vessel, one that is able to sail thousands of miles for months at a time without crew members.
It is the result of a DARPA-led design and construction project called the Anti-Submarine Warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel program, or ACTUV.
"Although ACTUV will sail unmanned, its story is entirely about people," said Scott Littlefield, DARPA program manager. "It will still be sailors who are deciding how, when and where to use this new capability and the technology that has made it possible."
The Sea Hunter ACTUV is 130 feet long and features a trimaran design. Its interior is accessible to maintenance personnel but is not designed for permanent crew.
DARPA said its autonomous navigational suite proved during tests its operation of the vessel in compliance with maritime laws and conventions for safe navigation. Advanced software and hardware serve as automated lookouts.
The Sea Hawk, which recently completed preliminary speed trials, is to soon enter a new stage of open-open-water testing by DARPA and the Office of Naval Research, which co-funded the vessel's development.
The christening ceremony was held in Portland, Ore.