British firm Rolls-Royce has announced plans to develop an autonomous robot naval vessel with a range of 3,500 nautical miles.
“The vessel concept is capable of operating beyond the horizon for over 100 days, will displace 700 tons and reach speeds above 25 knots,” according to a Rolls-Royce news release. “The 60-meter [197 feet]-long vessel is designed to perform a range of single-role missions, for example, patrol and surveillance, mine detection or fleet screening.”
The ship sounds conceptually similar to DARPA’s Sea Hunter robot sub-chaser. The design may feature a full-electric propulsion system with two Rolls-Royce MTU 4000 Series gensets, or small gas turbines. Thrusters will make the vessel highly maneuverable, and solar panels will provide backup energy.
Dr. Hans C. Mumm