The United States Navy has unveiled a new prototype ship that is sure to capture the hearts of techies and re-shape the face of naval warfare. The prototype ship is called the "Sea Hunter" and what distinguishes it from other ships is that it can sail the world without a crew.

The vessel was developed by the ultra-advanced and secretive, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The ship is classified as a Medium Displacement Unmanned Surface Vehicle (MDUSV), and it was designed to be an anti-submarine vessel.

DARPA tested Sea Hunter for two years before turning it over to the US Navy for further research, experimentation, and development.

The hope is that the ship will be able to sail to any location in the world for tactical use. If the ship is successful during testing, it is possible that it could be deployed for fleet operations as early as late 2018. It could also be made into its own class of warship. Here is a quick video about the new vessel:

Why the ‘Sea Hunter’ was built

The benefits of the ship are immense:

  • The ship can be sent anywhere in the world and operate 24-hours a day without crew fatigue
  • The MDUSV is cheaper than larger Navy ships in both construction and maintenance costs.The ship costs only $20 million to build, much less than building current crewed anti-submarine vessels.
  • The daily cost to run the ship is around $20,000 a day, much lower than $700,000 a day for a manned naval destroyer.
  • Can spend months at sea without having to return to port or be supplied at sea.

The ship is fast, agile, and powerful

The ‘Sea Hunter’ isn’t a large ship, so it doesn’t demand as much energy as manned, larger ships.

The ship is:

  • 127 feet long
  • Has a top speed of 27 knots (about 31 MPH)
  • Uses cameras, radar, and GPS to navigate through waters
  • At this time the ship is unarmed, and its mission would be to locate and follow enemy submarines.
  • The ship’s engine is diesel and has a range of 12,000 miles.
  • The ship's displacement is 145 tons when fully loaded.
  • ‘Sea Hunter’ has a unique “trimaran" look. This means it has a central hull with two outriggers attached on both sides.

The ‘Sea Hunter’ will not be sent to sea armed and unmanned

The U.S.

Navy has assured people that the ship will not be armed and sent to sea without a crew onboard and behind the controls of the weapons systems. Former Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work said, “There’s no reason to be afraid of a ship like this.”

Currently, the ship is in San Diego, Ca. undergoing open water testing.