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The nanomaterial-based unmanned Piranha USV boat is now a reality, and threatens to redefi...

You've heard of UAVs, unmanned remote controlled military aircraft; but what about USVs? Standing for Unmanned Surface Vehicle, a USV is quite simply an unmanned boat, like Zyvex Marine's Piranha concept. We've looked at USVs before, and the Piranha specifically in early 2010; but what was then a prototype under development is now a fully-fledged production craft, having shipped its first unit last November. "Our production facility is closer to rocket science than traditional boat building," says Zyvex Marine VP Byron Nutley of his boat - the only one in the world, it's claimed, that is made out of nanomaterials. But does the Piranha have the technological bite to match the hyperbole, and what does this mean for naval warfare?  Read More

Nanotube-reinforced carbon fiber Piranha USV

ZPM’s nanotube-reinforced carbon fiber prepreg is normally associated with high performance composite power boats, but the use of such ultra-lightweight materials in an unmanned surface vessel (USV) makes sense. Built entirely of Arovex™, the newly announced 54-foot Piranha USV weighs only 8,000 lb, yet can carry a 15,000 lb payload 2,500 miles, making it suitable for missions as diverse as anti-piracy, search and rescue, submarine hunting, and harbor patrol with a range of armament options that includes stabilized machine guns, Mark 54 torpedoes, and over-the-horizon missiles.  Read More

Lockheed Martin showcases air, water and underwater unmanned vehicles

August 21, 2006 Lockheed Martin telegraphed its intention to become a significant supplier of unmanned systems technology during a press briefing at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. this week. In showcasing its latest developments in unmanned systems technology and its progress into the future net-enabled environment, it discussed a broad range of unmanned and autonomous technologies, from the recently introduced Polecat and other unmanned aerial systems, to surface vessels such as the Protector (covered earlier this week here) and subsurface prowlers, such as the Sea Talon. During the conference Lockheed VP Frank Murno acknowledged that the company was considering a hybrid version of its F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter – where it could be operated with or without a human pilot as required.  Read More

The Protector Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV)

August 17, 2006 It might be remote controlled and small, but it’s not a toy boat by a long shot. Indeed, it’s the only operational Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV) that exists today having successfully served in the Persian Gulf and Mediterranean. Developed by Israel’s Rafael Armament Development Authority in response to emerging terrorist threats against maritime assets, the Protector is stealthy, highly autonomous and can operate with general guidance from a commander in port, riverine, harbour and coastal waterways in a variety of roles, thanks to the plug-and-play design of its various mission modules, such as force protection, anti-terror, surveillance and reconnaissance, mine warfare and electronic warfare. The options include a highly accurate, stabilized mini-Typhoon weapon system with an excellent hit-and-kill probability, plus cameras, search radar and a Toplite electro-optical (EO) pod for detection, identification and targeting operations.  Read More

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