Check Out DARPA's Newly Completed Robot Ship

Actively awaiting ACTUV

Naval battles of the future will be gray, wet, and lacking in humans. DARPA, the Pentagon's far-future projects wing, mentioned last week that it plans to test its completely unmanned, 132-foot-long submarine tracker ACTUV in the waters off Portland, Oregon later this spring. Today, we got a first glimpse over the vessel itself, from DARPA's Twitter and Instagram accounts.

Let’s take a look at ACTUV, short for “ASW Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel," throughout its development from concept to reality.

Rough ACTUV Concept Art

Rough ACTUV Concept Art

This gets the general shape and function of ACTUV: it's a ship, it hunts submarines. Fine, but uninspiring.DARPA
Video Still, ACTUV Concept

Video Still, ACTUV Concept

ACTUV gets a little more definition in this video, but it's still just a gray eraser looking for submarines.Screenshot by author, from YouTube
ACTUV High Quality Concept Art

ACTUV High Quality Concept Art

Still concept art, but this shows ACTUV as though Lisa Frank turned her devotion away from pastel kittens and surreal space dolphins to glistening gray robot warships.DARPA
ACTUV On Wheels

ACTUV On Wheels

The vessel itself! Especially worth noting: the life preserver and glass windows on the bridge. ACTUV may be all about unmanned boats, but it at least gives the appearance of being a boat that carries humans. From DARPA's Instagram caption: >Technicians supporting DARPA's Anti-Submarine Warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV) program make final preparations for lift-point testing and moving the prototype vessel, dubbed "Sea Hunter," to the water prior to sea trials commencing this spring.DARPA
ACTUV Sea Hunter Backside

ACTUV Sea Hunter Backside

The back of the beast! Ladders, for all the humans it doesn't carry, and propellers, for all the water it moves. From DARPA's Instagram caption: >Technicians supporting DARPA's Anti-Submarine Warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV) program make final preparations for lift-point testing and moving the prototype vessel, dubbed "Sea Hunter," to the water prior to sea trials commencing this spring.DARPA
ACTUV In The Water

ACTUV In The Water

This small, unmanned catamaran is the size of a private luxury vessel, though it looks far, far more severe. Gray metal on gray water on gray sky is a pretty somber look. From DARPA's Instagram: >A prototype vessel from DARPA's Anti-Submarine Warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV) program was recently moved to the water prior to sea trials commencing this spring.DARPA
ACTUV's Pointy Wet Nose

ACTUV's Pointy Wet Nose

Here's what the ship looks like head-on in the water. From DARPA's Instagram: >A prototype vessel from DARPA's Anti-Submarine Warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV) program was recently moved to the water prior to sea trials commencing this spring.DARPA