Leidos begins operational testing for Sea Hunter drone

By Ryan Maass  |  Nov. 29, 2016 at 12:02 PM
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RESTON, Va., Nov. 29 (UPI) -- Leidos has begun operational testing for its Sea Hunter demonstration vessel following a series of completed performance trials.

The testing supports the company's joint project with the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Project Agency, known as the Anti-Submarine Warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel program, or ACTUV. The program aims to develop automated maritime platforms capable of tracking quiet deisel electric submarines.

"Sea Hunter is at the forefront of new autonomy technologies for the U.S. military," Leidos Advanced Solutions Group president Mike Chagnon said in a press release. "The operational testing is designed to showcase the unprecedented capabilities that this type of unmanned vessel could offer our military forces."

The Sea Hunter was christened at a ceremony in April 2016 after a number of trials demonstrated the vessel's unmanned capabilities. Industry researchers also showcased the Remote Supervisory Control Station, which allows operators to perform missions with the vehicle from a distance.

The new set of trials will test the ship's sensors, mission control hardware and software, and autonomy system. Tests are set to continue through fall 2017 as part of a 2-year program funded by DARPA and the Office of Naval Research.

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