Stealth drone boats have been created to combat piracy without putting a crew at risk.
The Eclipse fleet, which is believed to be the first set of drones capable of operating on water, is remote-controlled, invisible to radar and can travel 60 miles an hour, according to Britain’s Daily Mail.
The 35-foot boats are designed to invisibly glide across the ocean, spotting pirates. They have a range of 600 nautical miles, can loiter for 10 days at low speeds without needing refueling and are powered by two 500-hp water jets, the newspaper reported.
The fleet was designed by engineers in Abu Dhabi by American military robotics experts 5G International.
“Various companies have prototype boats, but none offer a whole fleet,” Al Seer Marine spokesman Keith Henderson told the Daily Mail.
The boats are built with a radar-reflective superstructure, allowing them to scatter radar signals rather than bouncing them back, Henderson said. “We believe our boats will be at the forefront of the fight against piracy and crucial to search-and-rescue missions around the world.”
They can be decked out with a high-powered fire hose, a cannon that fires nets to foul propellers and a 50-caliber gun. They use infrared cameras to see in the dark and can identify chemical matter and underwater mines.
The most expensive model costs 2 million pounds, or more than $3 million.
Powered by two 500-hp water jets made by Rolls-Royce, the Eclipse range also boasts gyroscopic HD cameras, which take pictures of their surroundings, analyzing them for potential threats and relaying information to a manned control station.
In related news, a report in The Maritime Executive ranks, “Which Country Has the World's Most Pirate-Infested Waters?”
And the news is that Somali waters are no longer the most heavily pirated in the world. Based on International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Centre data, Somalia and Gulf of Aden still have pirate-infested waters, but over the last five quarters, a new country’s national waters have become the most heavily pirated on earth.
Indonesia’s 17,500 islands and their surrounding waters now take the title as the world’s most heavily pirated.