The US Navy wants to build a fleet of ten robot warships over the next five years.
The huge ships referred to as Large Unmanned Surface Vehicles (LUSVs) would function as scouts for the main battle fleet, carrying radar and sonar as well as anti-air and cruise missiles.
The vessels will mostly carry out “3D work” – dull, dirty and dangerous.
A document shared with potnetial contractors, posted on the FedBizOpps website, said: “The LUSV will be a high-endurance, reconfigurable ship able to accommodate various payloads for unmanned missions to augment the Navy’s manned surface force.
“With a large payload capacity, the LUSV will be designed to conduct a variety of warfare operations independently or in conjunction with manned surface combatants.
“The LUSV will be capable of semi-autonomous or fully autonomous operation, with operators in-the-loop (controlling remotely) or on-the-loop (enabled through autonomy).”
The US Navy hopes to build two ships a year, costing £330million per pair, over five years, according to US Naval Institute News.
Each ship would be about 200 to 300ft in length with a displacement of about 2,000 tonnes.
The ships are described as essentially “a light frigate” and will also have some limited accommodation for a human crew, if necessary.
The plan is to have the ships as generally unarmed but with the ability to carry missiles if needed.
LUSVs will also be capable of acting as floating scouts, sailing ahead of manned ships to detect threats early.
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Source: The Sun