recommended reading

Pentagon taps SAIC to build unmanned submarine-spying sea vessel

Science Applications International Corp. won a $58 million prime contract from the Pentagon to develop an unmanned sea vessel that spies on enemy submarines while operating with minimal supervision, the defense contractor announced.

The autonomous surface vessel will be able track a diesel-electric submarine for months over thousands of kilometers, the company said. It was funded out of a military venture capital arm initiative called the Anti-Submarine Warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel  program. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency experiment aims to create a new maritime drone that can operate with “sparse remote supervisory control,” contract databases reveal.

New autonomous capabilities could expand the use unmanned surface vessel systems at sea.  “Current unmanned surface vessel systems and concepts are operated as close adjuncts to conventional manned ships -- they are launched and recovered from manned ships, tele-operated from manned ships and are limited to direct support of manned ship missions,” a December 2011 solicitation document reads.

The technology, if successfully developed, could allow surveillance missions to be carried out with less effort, needing a shore-based operator just “intermittently monitoring autonomous performance.” One challenge DARPA-funded scientists will have to address would be building a machine that can navigate the seas safely without colliding into other ships, a tender indicates.

SAIC’s three-year contract would involve the design and construction of a prototype. SAIC was also funded in an earlier phase of the initiative to draw up a blueprint.

Oregon Iron Works and Christensen Shipyards have been slated for partners in ship design, construction and propulsion, according to the SAIC statement. Carnegie Mellon University was tapped to develop vehicle’s autonomous capabilities, with National Robotics Engineering Center’s Senior Systems Scientist Brett Browning and Associate Director of Operations Pete Rander serving as key investigators, the university said in a statement. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab was also picked to team up with SAIC.

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats


Close [ x ] More from Nextgov

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.