10 Oktober 2015
Remote control station of the Bonefish USV displayed at the Pacific 2015. (photo : Saab)
A wave of game changing technologies are emerging, offering high levels of operational capability while maintaining tight control of military budgets. We have all seen the revolution of unmanned aircraft, or drones, and soon this revolution will move onto the ocean.
A new generation of Unmanned Surface Vessel (USV) and Underwater Vessel (UUV) are under development that can carry out a wide of range of missions including stealthy surveillance and patrol, electronic intelligence gathering, anti-submarine warfare and mine warfare as well as the more peaceful roles of search and rescue.
The growing wealth and prosperity of the Asia Pacific region has seen a gradual shift in the defence and security challenges. Traditional regional power bases are re-aligning and there is increasing pressure to protect resources, maintain maritime sovereignty and respond to emergent threats.
Bonefish USV made by Lundin and Saab (photo : TelikSandi)
Any vessel can be made smaller, lighter, faster, cheaper and stealthy if you don’t need to provide space and services for crew. They don’t get tired or seasick and can stay on task for days or even weeks without rest. Most importantly, they can go where humans fear to go in wild weather or the crushing deep.
There are some problems to solve and this includes how to safely operate these unmanned systems in the crowded waters of South East Asia. “See and avoid” is the key and the unmanned systems will utilise image recognition and correlation with radar to keep track of everything around them.
To effectively manage the wealth of information these systems generate they require leading edge command, control and communications. It’s not just video that needs to be shared. It’s detected target as well as the USV position, course, speed, status and even audio. The nations that embrace this technology early and integrate it into their armed forces will have a major advantage in the balance of power in the region.