Faced with the Chinese threat, the US Navy bets on autonomous ships to monitor the Pacific Ocean

The Navy accelerates the production of these autonomous ships so as not to be left behind by the Chinese naval powerdetermined not to repeat the costly fiascoes of recent years in shipbuilding.

The four largest autonomous ships are being used in multinational naval exercises in the Pacific Ocean.

Also smaller autonomous ships are deployed in the 5th Fleet, off the coast of the Middle East.

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The objective is to see how the radars and sensors of these ships can be combined with artificial intelligence, and integrate all this into traditional cruisers, destroyers, submarines and aircraft carriers.to create a new fleet that can be deployed in wider spaces and is more difficult for the enemy to destroy, according to the Navy.

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You have to take advantage of technology. everything takes timesaid Jeremiah Daley, commander of Division One of California’s unmanned surface craft unit.

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The Navy estimates the technology can help in three key areas — weapons range, scouting, and command and control — at lower cost and without exposing personnel.according to James Holmes, a professor at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island.

$!Photo of the Sea Hunter, an unmanned ship, upon arrival at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii for maneuvers in the Pacific Ocean.

Photo of the Sea Hunter, an unmanned ship, upon arrival at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii for maneuvers in the Pacific Ocean.

He added, however, that all these benefits must be verified, as well as the durability of these ships in salty waters.

You have to make sure that all this technology works. It will certainly be useful, but it is not clear to what extent it will revolutionize everythingsaid Holmes, who is not speaking for the Navy.

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Before we go any further, the Navy must first convince a skeptical Congress after a series of missteps.

Their fast-moving coastal ships had propulsion problems and were withdrawn early. His stealth destroyer’s “Advanced Weapons System” fell out of use because ammunition was too expensive. Y on their newest aircraft carrier there were problems with the elevators and with a new aircraft take-off system.

Some say the Navy rushed to cram too much new technology into those ships, at high cost and failing..

We can’t throw all the resources (to autonomous ships) with all the problems we had the last 20 years”, said Democratic Rep. Elaine Luria, who is a retired Navy officer.

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The Navy’s Unmanned Craft Task Force took a new approachusing the military equivalent of a venture capital investment model only with technologies that have been proven to work, according to Michael Stewart, the director of that force.

While large ships are being tested in the Pacific, promising results have already been seen with trials of smaller ships in Bahrain, according to 5th Fleet spokesman Thimothy Hawkins.

One of the boats that generates the most interest is the saildrone, a sailboat with systems that work with solar energy. Is it so equipped with radars and cameras and it is said that these ships can operate autonomously for months, without the need for resupply or maintenance.

The Navy aims to deploy 100 unmanned ships by the middle of next year.

Admiral Mike Gilday, chief of naval operations, estimates there will be a mix of 150 unmanned ships, including submarines, by 2045, and more than 350 conventional ships.

The main advantage of unmanned ships is that they are much cheaper than conventional ones.said Loren Thompson, a military analyst at the Lexington Institute.

The United States already lags behind China in the number of warships, and the gap widens with each passing year.. But Congress is in no rush to close that gap, according to Bryan Clark, an analyst at the Hudson Institute. “Congress wants to have a good plan first and then put it into effect quickly”, he stated.

By David SharpThe Associated Press.

Source: Vanguardia

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