According to USNI News, the US Navy has officially received the Sea Hunter Unmanned Vessel.
DARPA Sea Hunter is said to be capable of handling Russian Kilo submarines. This procurement decision was made in response to the growing danger of Russian submarines across most waters.
The decision to hand over the Sea Hunter to the US Navy is made after the ship has completed all sea trials over the past four years, with necessary modifications. Sea Hunter was previously scheduled to be operational in 2018, but has been delayed due to some incomplete features.
In addition to sea reconnaissance capabilities, Sea Hunter is also equipped with a variety of lethal weapons to expand its mission list, while maintaining the ship’s design, said US Navy leader Ray Mabus.
Sea Hunter was launched in 2016 as part of the DARPA Anti-Submarine Warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV) program, built by Vigor Industrial. The cost for the original prototype was about $ 120 million, excluding the weapons. Her full load displacement is 145 tons, with a length of 40 m (132 ft ).
The Sea Hunter is classified as an unmanned self-piloting craft, with twin screws. She is equipped with two Diesel engines, allowing her to reach a top speed of 27 knots (50 km/h). Travel endurance is 70 days, cruising range is “transoceanic,” 10,000 nautical miles at 12 knots.
In terms of combat features, Sea Hunter can combine with anti-submarine and reconnaissance aircraft such as the P-8 Poseidon or MQ-4C to detect and attack enemy submarines. To hunt for targets, Sea Hunter is equipped with the Raytheon Scalable (MS3) sonar module system. This system is designed to find, detect, filter passive threats, locate and track targets without human control.
The MS3 system can also accurately classify various enemy submarines. The MS3 allows for anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and underwater combat in both active and passive modes, detecting torpedoes and providing warnings and avoiding collisions with small objects. With the features of this submarine hunter, the United States believes that the most advanced enemy submarines will be exposed.
Along with sonar equipment, Sea Hunter is appreciated for its very good stealth ability, helping her to operate effectively in shallow seas, bays or areas with a lot of coral reefs, which are ideal shelters for diesel-electric submarines.
The commissioning of the US Sea Huner is believed to be a move that demonstrates the country’s military potential over rivals, especially Russia and China.