In order to keep up with the US Military’s rapid expansion of drone programs, the US Navy is getting into the game with the ‘GhostSwimmer’….and in comparison to drones of the sky, this thing’s basically a gigantic wet fart of an unmanned submersible.
So maybe this drone does EXACTLY what it was designed to do, but in terms of militarization it’s just not sexy at all.
The 5-foot-long ‘GhostSwimmer’ is a biomimetic unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV), whose purpose is to cohabitate the ocean along side sharks and fish, gathering useful data. Designed to look like some sort of amalgamation between a fish and a shark, the US Navy’s ‘GhostSwimmer’ basically looks like a gigantic version of those stupid mechanical fish you see swimming around in a bucket outside of cheap stores in the mall.
You know the ones I’m talking about. They just keep going around and around in circles, being lame, and stopping you from walking into whatever store it was toying around outside of because you’re immediately convinced that store doesn’t sell a single item worth spending money on.
Okay, so maybe the ‘GhostSwimmer’ is a bit more advanced than that.
The U.S. Navy completed tests on the GhostSwimmer unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story (JEBLC-FS), Dec. 11.
GhostSwimmer is the latest in a series of science-fiction-turned-reality projects developed by the chief of naval operations’ Rapid Innovation Cell (CRIC) project, Silent NEMO.
Silent NEMO is an experiment that explores the possible uses for biomimetic, unmanned underwater vehicles in the fleet.
Over the past several weeks, Boston Engineering’s tuna-sized device has been gathering data at JEBLC-FS on tides, varied currents, wakes, and weather conditions for the development of future tasks.
“GhostSwimmer will allow the Navy to have success during more types of missions while keeping divers and Sailors safe,” said Michael Rufo, director of Boston Engineering’s Advanced Systems Group.
The GhostSwimmer was developed to resemble the shape and mimic the swimming style of a large fish. At a length of approximately 5 feet and a weight of nearly 100 pounds, the GhostSwimmer vehicle can operate in water depths ranging from 10 inches to 300 feet.
“It swims just like a fish does by oscillating its tail fin back and forth,” said Rufo. “The unit is a combination of unmanned systems engineering and unique propulsion and control capabilities.”
Its bio-mimicry provides additional security during low visibility intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions and friendly hull inspections, while quieter than propeller driven craft of the same size, according to Navy Warfare Development Command (NWDC).
And here it is in action (no sound):
I’m sure the ‘GhostSwimmer’ has no less than one million practical applications that I’m unable to conceive of. I am not a Navy diver and do not work in the field where this would be a useful invention, but from the outside looking in it just comes off as a giant wet fart of an invention.
Something where you didn’t necessarily trust it during conception and development (see: all you can eat Chinese Buffet), and upon deployment (trusting the fart) you were severely burned for putting too much trust in the project (never trust a fart).
For more on the most boring ‘Science Fiction turned real life gadget’ product ever produced, you can read the full story HERE on Marine Insight.