The Navy’s Newest Destroyer Is A Drone

 

 

 

 

 

 

” When the U.S. Navy christens the first of its newest class of destroyers this month, it will launch the first ship with a brain of its own.

  Among the high-tech features included on the USS Zumwalt—cannons that fire rocket-propelled, GPS-guided rounds and stealth design that gives the 610-foot ship the radar signature of a small fishing vessel—there’s also a computer intelligence capable of preparing the ship for battle and engaging enemy targets on its own. Think of it as a gigantic floating drone: “Most UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] are a few million dollars,” says Wade Knudson, who heads the Zumwalt project for Raytheon (RTN), which made most of the ship’s computer systems. “This is a $5 billion UAV.”

  Unlike aerial drones, however, the Zumwalt will still have a human crew and it will know how to anticipate their needs. If the ship’s smoke alarms and cameras detect a fire, the ship will turn on the sprinklers and seal off the area. When the fire is out, the ship knows to drain the water so the crew can investigate. All of this automation means the ship will carry a crew of just over 150—half of what would normally be required on a ship of this size. In a pinch, it can be manned by a crew of 40.”

 

Read more at Bloomberg