Navy Testing Unmanned Vessels
The second "unmanned" offshore supply vessel (similar to the one pictured above) retrofitted by the US Navy to run autonomously has arrived in California.
The Nomad, a former offshore support vessel (OSV), left Mobile, Alabama, and made the 4,400-mile journey to California nearly on its own, according to Military.com.
The US Naval Institute says the trip was done 98% autonomously, being manually controlled at critical maneuvering points during its transit.
Can you imagine how much of a game-changer it will be when the Navy begins to use unmanned vessels? Sending vessels into harm's way without having to send our sailors into harm's way gets us one step closer to reducing the number of lives lost in defense of our country.
The Nomad is part of the Ghost Fleet Overlord program that is being run by the United States Department of Defense. Nomad is one of two former offshore support vessels very common on the Gulf Coast as they have been used extensively in the oil industry.
Some comments on the US Naval Institute's website speculate about some of the possible uses for an autonomous fleet once they are put to use by the military. One person suggested that these vessels could be used as munition ships, following warships into battle serving as a magazine.
Another reader suggested that the ships could be used as supply vessels, with rations, gear, fuel, and other necessary replacement equipment. This would allow warships to stay underway for longer periods of time.
Serving as warships, themselves, is also a possibility
The Nomad, and her sister-ship, the Ranger, are both part of a study funded by the Navy - or, should I say, by our tax dollars: 47,000,000 of them.