Surface Forces: June 4, 2005

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The U.S. Navy has developed its Spartan Scout USV (unmanned surface vessel) to the point where a foreign navy (Singapore) has bought several of them. The Spartan Scout is a two ton, 22 foot long, radio controlled boat. It is armed with a .50 caliber machine-gun and a number of sensors (mainly day and night vidcams.) Singapore will use the Spartan Scout for harbor reconnaissance. Previously, Singapore had been using a Protector USV (four tons, 30 feet long, armed with a machine-gun). The Spartan Scout has a more powerful navigation system, and is able to operate without an operator (by using GPS to move between specified locations.) Spartan Scout is also designed to use different sets of equipment for different missions (detecting mines, Intelligence-Surveillance-Reconnaissance, Anti-Terrorism/Force Protection, destroying threats with the machine-gun, and Antisubmarine Warfare.) Spartan Scout can stay out for up to 48 hours, depending on how much high speed (it can hit up to 80 kilometers an hour) running is done. It also has a loudspeaker and microphones, so that the operator, who is usually so far away that he can't see the USV) can converse with crewmen on small ships. Spartan Scout was particularly useful when it got its first tryout in the Persian Gulf during late 2003. There are lots of small boats moving about, some of them up to no good. A Arab linguist on the mothership was able to interrogate suspicious boats the Spartan Scout ran down. The civilian sailors were somewhat taken aback when they were interrogated by this Arab speaking boat that had no one aboard. While Spartan Scout was developed primarily to work with the new LCS (Littoral Combat Ship), every ship now wants one or more of them, just for port security. Others are interested as well, including The development team includes the U.S. Army, port managers worldwide, and even France.

 


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