Navy scientists display futuristic tools of war

Posted: 06/30/2011 in all marine news

News Herald –

An aquatic robot swam along the side of a ship in a demonstration of new technology at the U.S. Navy’s Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City on Thursday.

It’s all part of the testing of underwater unmanned vehicles, or underwater robots, that will be incorporated into the Navy’s arsenal to fight enemies of America at sea.

Researchers, scientists and military personnel have gathered to watch the latest gadgets and gizmos tested as part of the Navy’s Office of Naval Research Mine Countermeasures Science and Technology at the warfare center over the past two weeks.

Phil Bernstein, head of the Unmanned Systems Technology Branch at the warfare center, discussed why robots are important to the military and why the demonstration took place.

“We are trying to get the robots to do the dirty, dull and dangerous work,” Bernstein said. “This is a place where we have the opportunity to bring lots of robotic and unmanned systems together and demonstrate them in a relative environment, out into the ocean and not just in somebody’s backyard. We get sailors and Marines out to see the technology that will be coming out in the next five years.”

The varieties of robots are constantly evolving at the Navy’s research center.

“There are different vehicles (robots) for different missions,” Bernstein said. “But they are all predominantly related to (sea) mine hunting.”

Many of the robots showcased Thursday could be deployed as equipment on board the new Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), Bernstein said. The LCS is designed to be active in shallow coastal waters.

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