This summer, the Pentagon wants to test underwater drones in the open sea. Ashton Carter of Secretary of Defense has spoken when visiting the Philippines about the goals for the first time the long of held top secret LDUUV program. Therefore, the underwater drones to do reconnaissance in the South China Sea.
LDUUV stands for large displacement unmanned underwater vehicle. These are a particularly large unmanned underwater vehicle. This new, so-called mother-ship is versatile usable. So, it may emit a larger number of much smaller underwater drones in a version in the target area. As well, it is also possible instead of small drones to expose mines.
A further specification of the mother-ship to expose even drones could be activated as a small rocket launcher. The Pentagon speaks of an almost limitless variety of applications of the LDUUV mother-ship. It can using even small reconnaissance devices on the ocean floor, there for many years unnoticed can remain until they are activated.
Energy supply is still not mature
Adequate energy supply of the LDUUV mother-ship is seen as special difficulty of DARPA, the Pentagon’s research agency. In the initial phase, the time spent in the target area will go beyond not more than 31 days.
On a large scale, the American Navy is can use only the LDUUV drones when the retention period may – be extended significantly by fuel cells. The DARPA assumes that the LDUUV mother-ships 2020 will be available in greater numbers.
Underwater drones operate partially autonomous
In principle, there are two basic types of underwater drones. A remote control and move according to the instructions of the remote operator. The others are capable of independent decision-making and action. The Pentagon aims to the independence of the mother ships. It is unclear how far it should go but actually.
As far as it is pure intelligence functions, the independence will be very large. As far as it goes but armed mother ships or their small drones, is by no means refrain from these will be how far to independent decision-making and action in the area. Finally, a bad decision for a completely autonomous, but armed drone in the worst case could trigger a war.
Concentrated in the meantime on the South China Sea
The LDUUV program is in its geographical target of – Defense Minister Carter – focused so far on the South China Sea. Politically that it agrees that here the most tension between the People’s Republic of China and the other countries, especially the Philippines, Indonesia, Viet Nam and Thailand and their protector, the United States, there are.
At the same time, China expanding numerous flat Islands in this sea to military fortified installations, although the ownership of the Islands is internationally disputed.
The Pentagon is now looking for ways to be able to monitor this marine region. That seems to be the easiest with underwater drones. The LDUUV drones are especially useful because they can come in the many shallow marine areas, which are not deep enough for manned submarines. Finally, the underwater drones are especially when they hardly move, hard to locate.