A 355-plus ship Navy? Patrick Tucker @DefTechPat

Mar 11, 2020, 12:11 AM
Image:  USS Gerald R. Ford, as of 2018, she is the US Navy's latest and most advanced nuclear poweredaircraft carrier, and the largest naval vessel in the world.

Patrick Tucker, technology editor, DefenseOne, in re:  Navy: does the US need 355 ships?  We currently have big, long unmanned vessels called Sea-Hunter programs; can navigate very  long distances, and execute simple missions such as mapping the ocean floor; very quiet. Have two now, intend ot buy more.  If you rely on these to reach 355, does that get you there? Can you swap out manned frigates and destroyers? In fact, with these, 355 is far too low; with robot ships, want 430.

In 2012 DoD endorsed human-run vessels; can ask for an exemption, if necessary. 

Especially in the matter of killing anyone, it’s seen as essential that a person make the decision. Will that continue to obtain into the Twenty-first Century?   Lethal autonomy.”

Boat-bots.   We’re ’way short of the Virginia-class ships we need.  Sea Hunters are to tail around behind manned ships.  Unmanned underwater vehicles can reach a higher level of autonomy.  Fleet defense.  There’s no technical limit on what these can do; rather, it's a matter of policy.